Kids win EPC golf title
When Northampton’s golf team suffered its only loss this season, falling to Emmaus by just a few points in a showdown for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference regular season title, Kids head coach Brian Davies immediately looked ahead.
Davies knew that when his team went down to its five-player tournament lineup in the EPC Championship, the Hornets’ depth advantage would be neutralized.
Davies was right.
Last Wednesday he sent his five best players out with the top-four counting toward the team score. Northampton’s top-four tied Emmaus and the match came down to the fifth score as the tiebreaker, giving this year’s league tournament title to the Konkrete Kids.
“It was close,” said Davies. “It came down to a tie, essentially the fifth score. Once you take away some of Emmaus’ depth we match up really close.”
Northampton was led by a player who has been in the fifth position most of the season. Devon Britton, a state silver medalist wrestler, shot his best round of the season to take third place overall with a 79. Andrew Hozza (81, sixth place), Nate Wheeler (83, ninth place) and Andrew Kovalchik (84) gave the Kids a team score of 327, which was the same score shot by Emmaus’ top-four. When each team’s fifth score was counted, Northampton’s Anthony Sawarynski (89) was a couple strokes better than Emmaus’ Matt Zerfass (91) to give his team the win.
It marks a four-year progression that saw Northampton go from near the bottom of the league and district standings all the way to the top. The achievement was led by a group of seniors that stuck together and kept improving each season.
“We got better every year,” said Davies. “I told them it doesn’t matter if we win, lose or draw here today, the important thing is that as a team we matured and got better. The fact that we got the win today is evidence of how well they pulled together as a team over these four years. It really feels good to get to the top of the mountain.”
One of those seniors is Britton, who has offers from several Division I wrestling schools. He has been on the golf team for four years. While he has always been toward the back part of the lineup, he also has always been a key part of the lineup.
“Devon just has competitive juices,” said Davies. “He brings it over from wrestling. When the lights are the brightest he always does the best. He’s done it since he was in 10th grade. He’s always been the fourth or fifth person I’ve brought [to the EPC Tournament] and he’s always excelled at tournaments like this when the pressure is the highest.”
Britton doesn’t take golf too seriously. It’s not his primary sport and he looks at it as more of a leisure activity. But it’s still a competition, and he wants to do his best.
“I just wanted to go out and have fun,” he said of the league tournament. “This was going to be my second-last match depending on what happens with the team, so I just wanted to have fun.
“I take it serious but not that serious. I take wrestling more serious.”
Averaging 88 for the season, Britton’s only path to the individual district championship was by finishing top-five at leagues.
He shook off a bad start and made one birdie and one doubly-bogey in his round of 7-over par at Woodstone Golf Club, his team’s home course.
“First hole I three-putted for a bogey but then putts started dropping,” said Britton.
Britton tied three other players for second place at 79. A match of cards left him behind Emmaus’ Mitch Machulsky and ahead of Parkland’s Chris Panny.
Central Catholic’s Ian Arnold won the boys individual title with a 77. Emmaus’ Michelle Cox won the girls title with a 79.
Northampton’s Andi Andrews was sixth in the girls tournament at 102. Teammate Maxine Tassie shot 124.
Britton earned an exemption into district because of his top-five finish. Hozza has an exemption based on making last year’s PIAA East Regional. Several other Kids competed Monday in the district qualifier at Olde Homestead.
Anthony Sawarynski took first and was one of three Kids who will join Britton and Hozza at districts. Sawarynski shot a 76. Nate Wheeler shot an 85 and Andrew Kovalchik carded an 87.
The district championship tournament is scheduled for Monday at Lehigh Country Club. Both individual and team titles will be on the line.