By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
When the Rams draw their clubs from their bag Monday at the state tournament, they’ll also be drawing on a chance to make history.
The Portales boys have never won a state golf title, and after several tournament titles this season, they expect to finish the job.
“I feel like we are expected to win going in there,” sophomore Will Archibeque said.
“We’ve been ranked number one all season,” Crowley said. “The kids have been working hard all season and that doesn’t happen just by a fluke.”
The Portales boys finished second at state last year, behind Socorro, and the team is using their runnerup finish as motivation for this title contest.
“Just to think about being the first team ever (to win state), it’s just an amazing feeling,” Archibeque said. “We felt like we worked hard enough last year that we could have won it, even as young as we were. You could just see it in our eyes that we wanted it so bad.”
The Rams are coming off a District 4-3A championship in Roswell, and both the team and sophomore Donavin Sanchez are seeded number one heading into state.
“I feel like everything is clicking,” Archibeque said. “Our whole team is clicking right now at the right time.”
If the Rams haven’t hit their top speed yet, Crowley feels it won’t be long before they do.
“We’re actually going to peak right when we need to,” Crowley said. “Their short games are in order now, especially for a course like Socorro. If you two-putt every hole out you’ve done a great job with your putters.”
The Rams have already seen the state tournament course several times this season, and Crowley says that’s by design.
“We’re very familiar with the golf course. We’re not in awe of it in any way shape or form,” Crowley said. “We know what to expect and we play it better each time we get there.”
“Socorro is a different kind of course,” Archibeque said. “You have to come out and make the least mistakes, you have to minimize your mistakes, that’s how you have to play out there.”
This season, when some Portales golfers have had a bad round, others have picked up the slack. Archibeque says that can’t happen at state.
“It’s such a tough golf course that everybody has to contribute to win this tournament. We have a good enough golf team and we have the mind-set. I just feel like we have it going into the state tournament,” Archibeque said.
Sanchez tees off first for the Rams Monday at 8 a.m. followed by Archibeque 10 minutes later. Senior Jefferson Powers begins at 8:20 a.m. in front of sophomore Rick Bergman and senior Garrett Hatch.
On the girls side, Elida’s Lindsey Ward begins her state competition at 8:50 a.m., while Portales senior Tori Teague tees off at 9:20 a.m.
“These guys, they want to win it so bad — I don’t think it’s pressure as much as it is desire,” Crowley said.
Archibeque summed it up.
“We’re here, and we just have to do it now.”