VHS, Los Lunas golfers want to go to state

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The number of returners for the Los Lunas and Valencia high school golfers has certainly been higher in years past. However, the enthusiasm has likely never been collectively higher than it is now.

The Valencia High boys made tremendous progress in 2011-12, and finished within three strokes of second place at the District 6-4A tourney in late April. The top Los Lunas High golfer the past two seasons has been Monica Trujillo, and she tied for 13th at the 2012 Class 4A state tournament in Socorro.

The Valencia boys should return at least four juniors from last year's team, along with at least one returner on the girls side. Trujillo and several LLHS boys golfers made major improvements over the course of the season.

Milton Torres returns for his third season as the Valencia coach, while new LLHS girls basketball coach Marty Zeller will run the Los Lunas High program once hoops is over. Both are hoping to get many athletes qualified for the Class 4A state championships.

The two-day state tourney is set for Monday and Tuesday, May 13-14, at New Mexico State University Golf Course in Las Cruces.

"We're ready to go," said Torres. "We feel like this is our year. Some of the kids have been playing like crazy. We really want to go to state."

Neither school had released its schedule as of press time.

The Valencia boys finished strong at the end of last season, posting a team score of 384 to place at last year's district tournament at Tierra Del Sol Golf Club in Rio Communities. Tim Turnbow's fourth-place score of 86 led the way.

Valencia's Jason McClung shot an 89, Cody Robinson shot a 92, Elias Romero a 117 and Sam Swinney a 122. While Romero has graduated, Turnbow, McClung, Robinson and Swinney were sophomores, and Torres expects all four to return.

"Cody even chose not to do football, so he could do golf," said Torres. "These guys are excited."

McClung, who played football and basketball this year, said expectations are high.

"We have a lot of potential this year to go far — as individuals and as a team," said McClung. "If we consistently play well, I think we could do really well this season."

Teams advance to state by earning three qualifying legs. The best four of the five individual scores at a tournament determine the team score, and each course has its own qualifying mark.

Torres' daughter, Tori, finished as the 6-4A runner-up to two-time state champion Taylar Jaramillo of Belen. She decided to play volleyball this past fall, and the senior is hoping to continue her improvement.

Coach Torres said Laura Santos, the only other VHS girl to play last season, might return.

When Trujillo qualified for state as a junior last year, she was the first LLHS girl to make it to state in many years. She was disqualified at district, for playing a ball that had landed out of bounds, so her score of 91 didn't count.

Aided by LLHS coach Pat Sanchez and Trujillo's stepfather, Rob Sexsmith, Trujillo made tremendous strides since she first took up golf. Sanchez had a tumultuous 2012 season as coach, and although he wasn't terminated after the season, his contract was not renewed, and Zeller was later announced as Sanchez's replacement by Los Lunas Schools athletics director Wilson Holland.

The Los Lunas boys shot a team score of 417 at district. Colby Kerr narrowly missed out on a top-five medal with an 87. Kayle Miller carded a 96; Michael Brohard shot a 109, and Jared Abeita had a 125.


-- Email the author at jbrooks@news-bulletin.com.