RIVERVIEW — Riverview coach Ron Slater jokes that he had always been the one-stroke kid.
In his eight years as Sharks coach, a district title has eluded him several different ways, but it has practically always been by a little. His starting five, all seniors, remember last year's end to the season, when Riverview missed regionals by one stroke.
"The car ride home in the van was kind of unbearable," said senior R.J. Slater, the coach's son. "We all felt disappointed, like we let him down. This year, we wanted to put that district banner in the gym like he's always wanted."
The Sharks hosted this year's Class 2A-11 tournament at Summerfield Crossing, but when coach Slater heard the swirling wind rustling in his ears, he couldn't help but think about another letdown. "I was thinking, 'Could there be any more elements?' " Slater said.
But the Sharks left no doubt on the course, giving Slater his first district title by besting second-place Wharton by 20 strokes, 329-349. Newsome also qualified for regionals as a team, beating Bloomingdale by two strokes.
Riverview was led by senior Liberty recruit Ian McConnell, who shot 1-over-par 72 for the individual title. R.J. Slater, who tied Durant's Ryan Hamm for the second-best individual score at 79, birdied No. 18 to break 80.
"Golf isn't a team sport, but we make it a team sport," R.J. Slater said. "It takes four scores to win. We all hang out with each other. We're all best friends. We've lost as a team. We win as a team."
The wind was a factor for every player, including McConnell, who has shot 63 here and is the course's club champion. He had six bogeys to go with five birdies on the day.
"Overall, it was a tough day," McConnell said. "You were at the mercy of the wind. My goal was to bogey every hole at worst. I accomplished that. On a day like today you're going to make three, four, five bogeys at least. It was probably one of the five or six hardest days ever on this course."