Prep golf: Title time at Malpais for LLHS boys, VHS girls
It was a great day of golf for both the Los Lunas boys and Valencia girls squads as the two won team titles at the District 6-4A Golf Tournament at Coyote del Malpais in Grants on Monday.
The Jaguar girls made history, winning the school’s first-ever league golf title. On the boys side, senior golfer Colby Kerr took top individual honors, and his Los Lunas teammates came on to win the team title over archrivals Belen, beating the Eagles 317-226. With the win, the Tigers also earned a berth as a team in next week’s Class 4A State Tournament at UNM’s Championship Course in Albuquerque.
“It’s been a struggle for us, just getting a team together,” said LLHS coach Marty Zeller, who said he couldn’t find a record of the last Tiger team to qualify for state. “Now we’ve got a team that wins district.”
The race for the boys individual title was also between LLHS as Kerr and BHS senior Martin Campbell played close throughout before Kerr pulled away at the end to win by three strokes, scoring a 72 on the day to Campbell’s 75.
“Colby really stepped up at the right time,” Zeller said. “He was 1-over after three holes then went to 2-under, I think that was probably the biggest thing.
“Martin was right there too. They were neck and neck. And Colby finished strong.”
Kerr entered the tournament needing to win in order to qualify for state due to an error made at a tournament earlier in the season. Likewise the LLHS team needed a qualifying score to do the same. With newcomer Jose Montoya, a student at Los Lunas’ School of Dreams Academy, shooting an 77 and state-qualifier Dylan Gonzales shooting an 79 on Monday, Los Lunas was able to beat the qualifying score by almost 17 strokes.
Belen’s Campbell will also be playing as an individual in the state tournament, which runs Monday and Tuesday in Albuquerque.
Valencia’s girls were the only complete girls squad in the tournament, but still had to shoot double-par to claim the district title.
The Jaguars did just that as VHS’s Emily Garcia and Samantha LeFebre finished fourth and fifth, respectively, shooting 101 and 102 to pace Valencia. Belen’s Danessa Ortiz, the Eagles’ lone female entry, finished as the top area individual golfer in the tourney, placing third with a 100.
On Tuesday, VHS coach Milton Torres had nothing but praise for his team.
“The girls worked hard and stuck together all year was nice for them,” Torres said. “They’re a bunch of girls who just give over 100 percent and never gave up. I have to give them a lot of credit, as well as our assistant gold coach Andy Garcia.
“These girls never got frustrated and kept working hard. (Andy) and I did a lot of coaching with them and had a lot of fun,” he said.