By Kevin Wilson
The Portales golf teams are peaking at the right time.
The Lady Rams won district for the second straight season, and the Portales boys finished firmly in second place thanks to a 73 from medalist Dale Welch in Monday’s district golf championship at New Mexico Military Institute.
Both Portales teams had already qualified for next week’s Class 1A-3A state tournament, which runs Monday through Wednesday in Albuquerque.
The Rams finished second in boys competition with a 320 score, while New Mexico Military Institute took the title with a 306. Jal was third at 328.
Portales’ other scores were Kevin Welch (79), Chris Adkins (86) and Matt Parkey (82). Trevor Ferguson (91) and Chris Szoyka (81) also competed, but Szoyka’s score could not be used — Portales coach Greg Poynor did not list him as one of his five eligible golfers.
The top four scores account for the team score, meaning that Szoyka’s score could have pushed Portales to a team score of 315.
“We’re not very far off,” Poynor said. “We take (Szoyka’s score), we’re nine shots behind the No. 1 team in the state.”
Poynor has contended that NMMI will always be a tough matchup, but he feels his team is peaking at the right time behind Kevin and Dale Welch and that the Rams have a great shot at taking the state championship.
“We’ve got two guys who are playing as good as anybody they’ve got,” Poynor said. “I think we’ve got a chance.”
The same could be said for the girls golf club. Girls coach Brenda Gomez expects the team to at least be in the running for one of the top three spots.
The Lady Rams won the district title by 29 strokes, despite an uncharacteristic performance from junior Cassidy Merrick.
Portales posted a team score of 383, besting Lovington’s 412.
Merrick, who had been the medalist in two of her previous three tournaments, got off to a rough start but still shot a 95 on the day.
“Cassidy struggled,” Gomez said. “She had a bad day, but she’ll be better at the state tournament. As a team, everyone did well and played close to what they’re capable of.”
Portales got a 94 from junior Roni Gomez — good for third place — and a 96 from junior Oma Creighton. Jennifer Bolin posted a 98 to round out the team scoring — Michelle Miller shot a 103.
Eunice’s Jenny Woodell was the medalist with an 85. Lovington’s Ciara Cunningham was second with a 90.