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Going into Monday’s Los Alamos Fall Invitational, few around the Hilltoppers’ girls golf team knew exactly what to expect.
Afterward, things look a little clearer.
Los Alamos won its home tournament, played at Los Alamos Golf Course Monday. It shot a team score of 399, well ahead of runner-up Las Vegas Robertson’s 437.
In all, six full teams took part in the tournament.
The Hilltoppers placed three players in the top 10. Miranda Olinger finished second in individual competition with her 85, four strokes behind tournament winner and one of the top players in northern New Mexico, Santa Fe’s Chanet Fiorina.
Olinger was seven shots ahead of Tiffany Nasise, who was third overall. Freshman Miquela Baca also got into the top 10 individually with her 106.
The upside of Monday’s tournament was the decisive team win for the Hilltoppers, but the downside was that the Hilltoppers missed their first team qualifying leg of the season by just three strokes.
The Hilltoppers weren’t expecting to pick up a leg Monday.
Los Alamos head coach John McBride said heading into Monday’s tournament he thought his squad might be rebuilding a bit following last season’s fourth-place finish from 2007.
The big key, he said, would be to get Olinger and Nasise to shoot in the 80s or low 90s, which both did in their first outing.
Olinger, a sophomore, played at the No. 1 spot Monday. Her second-place finish to open the fall season comes on the heels of a productive summer for her — she won her flight at the Atomic City Invitational match play tournament in July.
Nasise, meanwhile, had a solid showing Monday, especially from tee-to-green. Nasise’s third shot on the par-5 18th landed just 20 feet from the pin from about 165 yards out. She would go on to par the hole.
Baca, for her part, said she had a good day with her short game.
“It was good,” Baca said. “My drives could have improved ... It was a good score for me, but I can do better.”
She was largely able to avoid big numbers Monday to pick up her top 10 finish.
Santa Fe, a Class AAAAA school, also put three players in the top 10 and might have topped Los Alamos for the team title but had its No. 2 player disqualified for not finishing out a hole.
Also for the Hilltopppers Monday, Morgan Vaughn finished with a 116 and Bethany McBride had a 147.
Los Alamos’ District 2AAAA opponent, Española Valley, was fourth out of the six teams with a 495.
With their finishes, Olinger and Nasise both earned individual qualifying legs Monday. Players earning three individual legs can advance to state championship play regardless of whether their team qualifies.
The Hilltoppers will have four more tournaments on the fall season on four consecutive Mondays. They play next week at Hope Christian’s tournament at Albuquerque’s Ladera Golf Course.
1. Los Alamos, 399; 2. Las Vegas Robertson, 437; 3. Bosque, 444; 4. Española Valley, 495; 5. Hope Christian, 583; 6. Los Lunas 585.
1. Chanet Fiorina, Santa Fe, 81; 2. Miranda Olinger, 85; 3. Tiffany Nasise, 92; 4. Andrea Sanchez, Santa Fe, 99; 5. Beverly Williams, Española Valley, 100; 6. Jaime Allen, Robertson, 102; 7. Jayme Quintana, Robertson, 103; (tie) Brie Seebinger, Hope, 103; 9. Robyn West, Santa Fe, 105; 10. Miquela Baca, 106; Morgan Vaughn, 116; Bethany McBride, 147.
Sarah McBride, 115; Brenna O’Hara, 127; Ayla Taylor, 143.