Portales golfers set sights on state crown

PNT staff

If how they practiced during the week means anything, coach Patrick Crowley believes the Portales Rams are ready to make a run at the Class 1-3A boys state golf tournament championship on Monday and Tuesday at UNM South in Albuquerque.

Portales’ quintet of senior Matthew Parkey, junior Jefferson Powers and freshmen Donavin Sanchez, William Archibeque and Rick Bergman left Saturday for the 36-hole event which tees off at 8 a.m. Monday.

The Rams come into the tourney as one of the favorites, although that in itself doesn’t mean a whole lot. Crowley knows his squad will face stiff competition from Grants and Socorro, and perhaps others.

“The week went real well in practice, coming off the district title (on Monday in Clovis),” Crowley said. “Everybody is hitting it about as well as they can.”

Portales has the advantage of having seen Grants and Socorro a couple of times this spring, including once when the teams met up at UNM South. The Rams beat both teams in winning their division of the Leroy Gooch Invitational at Ruidoso, while finishing third behind both at UNM South in the Sandia Prep Invitational.

Familiarity with the course also won’t hurt.

“I think we’re a deeper team than anybody else,” said Crowley, in his second year of his second stint as Rams coach. “The kids have made up their minds this week that they’re going to do their best to win a state title.”

Winning a team title is something the Rams have never accomplished.

“That’s a point of interest for these guys,” Crowley said. “Whether it’s the No. 1 or No. 5 (player on the team), the first word out of their mouths is ‘team.’”

Portales did claim an individual state champion in 2004 with Kevin Welch, and has the potential to do it again this year, perhaps with either Sanchez or Archibeque.

As for the team race, Crowley said all you can do is take your best shot because you never know what might happen.

“I don’t count anybody out at the state tournament,” he said of the team battle. “Everybody up there has either won their district or made their (three qualifying) legs.”