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Round two of the prep golf season gets underway for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys team Monday morning.
Los Alamos tees off on the second half of the season when it takes part in the Belen Invitational. That tournament will be played at Tierra Del Sol.
The Belen Invitational is the first of five regular season events for the Hilltoppers before the District 2AAAA championship tournament.
The Hilltoppers didn’t pick up any team qualifying legs during the fall season, which ended in October. Instead, Los Alamos will have to hope it can grab the necessary three qualifying legs during the spring.
Los Alamos will host the District 2AAAA Invitational in early May. However, district is no longer an automatic qualifier. Instead, the winner of the tournament will have to shoot a state qualifying score to earn a trip to state.
For Hilltopper head coach John Stam, who was named co-Head Coach of the Year for the 2009-10 academic year at Los Alamos High School, said the chance that the Hilltoppers, or any other team in district, for that matter, will be able to trip up the Bernalillo Spartans without shooting a qualifying score is pretty unlikely.
“Bernalillo’s very good this year,” Stam said. “They’re already fully qualified and they won several tournaments in the fall. With that said, with our kids developing the way they are, we might still be able to pull off an upset.”
Regardless of how the team finishes this spring, at least one member of the Hilltopper squad, Thomas Herrera, will take part in the tournament.
Herrera, a senior and Los Alamos’ No. 1 golfer for the past two seasons, earned a bid to the tournament as an individual. Herrera picked up the berth with his finishes at Bernalillo, Grants and the team’s home fall tournament.
The Hilltoppers actually picked up a tournament just in the last few days. They will play at the Bosque Invitational April 11, just one day after the Capital Invitational.
That will be a busy stretch for the Hilltoppers, who have three tournaments in the space of a week.
Stam said he was glad to get the team into Bosque, which will be played at Four Hills Country Club in Albuquerque, as he team will need to get used to playing back-to-back days in preparation for an entry into the state tournament.
With favorable weather for a good portion of the winter, Los Alamos has gotten plenty of work in and should be ready to go come Monday.
“We’ve had three good, solid weeks of practice,” Stam said. “We should be in good shape for this time of year. Our swings are looking pretty solid. We’ll see what happens down there.”
Los Alamos will start Herrera, who in practice rounds looks perhaps even better than how he did finishing off the fall season, along with senior Tim Branch, eighth-grader Jonathan Osden, junior Jin Park and sophomore Tanner Vaughn at Tierra Del Sol.
2011 boys golf spring schedule
Los Alamos at Belen Invite, 9 a.m.
Los Alamos at Capital Invite, 9 a.m.
Los Alamos at Bosque Invite, 9 a.m.
Los Alamos Spring Invite, 9 a.m.
Los Alamos at Santa Fe Invite, 9 a.m.
District 2AAAA tournament at Los Alamos, TBA.