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Hilltoppers finish eighth in AAAA

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By Mike Cote

LAS CRUCES — With a top three finish potentially in the cards Tuesday, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls golf team stayed close to its day one tournament pace.

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However, that would not be enough for the Hilltoppers to make any headway in the Class AAAA standings.

Los Alamos finished eighth in the final team standings at the AAAA championship, which concluded Tuesday at New Mexico State University Golf Course. Los Alamos shot a day two score of 402, which was just three strokes down from its day one finish.

However, the Hilltoppers actually slipped one spot from their finishing rank from day one. The Hilltoppers were seventh going into Tuesday’s second round.

Albuquerque Academy, which finished eight strokes behind Los Alamos at the conclusion of Monday’s opening round, dropped 21 team strokes and leapfrogged all the way up to fourth place in the final standings.

Los Alamos was hoping it and not Academy would be the one making the big push and possibly crack the top three in AAAA and earn a trophy.

“I wish I would’ve done a lot better,” said Hilltopper No. 2 Shelby Fellows. “I wanted to break 100 (Tuesday), but I didn’t.”

The Hilltoppers were just seven strokes off the pace for a possible top-three finish with their first round score of 399, but ran into enough trouble Tuesday to make it difficult for the team to gain any ground.

The Hilltoppers, who putted efficiently as a team in the first round wasn’t as effective on the greens in day two, taking numerous 3- and 4-putt holes.

Deming, which won the 2009 Class AAAA title, rolled to its second straight victory, matching its blistering team score of 343 that it posted in the first round again in the final round.

Deming’s Wildcats placed three players in the top six individually in the AAAA title tournament, including individual state champ Bianca Dominguez, who overcame a 2-shot deficit going into Tuesday by shooting a 77.

Dominguez held off another day two charger, Belen’s Arrianna Estrada, by a lone shot to take the title. Estrada turned in the low round of the day Tuesday with her 1-over 75.

Los Alamos, meanwhile, was paced by Alicia Herrera. Herrera, the only senior on the team, was the only Hilltopper to go sub-100 both days, shooting a 99 Tuesday.

Herrera said after her round she wasn’t all that thrilled about her performance either day of the tournament.

“(Tuesday) was probably the hardest round of my entire life,” she said. “I had two horrible holes on the back. I had a 10 on one hole...but I had fun on my last round.”

Herrera got off to a rough start Tuesday, losing her first tee shot out of bounds on No. 15 and ultimately ended up taking a double-digit score.

Tuesday’s play was changed from a tee-time start to a shotgun start due to forecasts calling for high winds here starting Tuesday afternoon. Only some light breezes and a few moderate gusts were felt during the latter half of the round.

Turning in the best score of day two for Los Alamos was Taylor Engleman. Engleman, a sophomore, carded a 98, shaving six strokes off her opening round total, which had been a season best for her.

Engleman parred two holes on the day and stayed within bogey range on eight other holes. She finished with a solid score of 47 on the front nine to make the biggest improvement of the Hilltoppers’ tournament.

Following Herrera’s 99, Fellows finished with a 101, a stroke off her pace Monday.

Fellows, who finished as the District 2AAAA runner-up this season behind Taos’ Carlie Malone — who did not make the trip to this tournament despite having an automatic bid for being the top district finisher — may have had her best hole of the tournament on No. 3 Tuesday.

Fellows crushed her tee shot on the par-4, 336-yard third, straight down the middle of the fairway about 135 yards away from the green. Her second shot went into a bunker on the right side of the green, but she put her sand shot just 10 feet from the cup and dropped in her ensuing putt to save par.

Fellows said she wished she’d putted like she did on the third for the rest of the day, too.

“I messed up on putting a lot,” she said. “Pretty much every hole I could’ve knocked off a stroke.”

The Hilltoppers ended the 2010 spring season with a District 2AAAA team title to advance to this week’s state tournament, just a few days after head coach John McBride turned in his resignation and boys head coach John Stam adopted the program. Herrera, who was one of the hottest golfers in the state heading into the tournament, played the final round of her career with the Hilltoppers.

“It didn’t hit me until the last couple of holes that it would be my last two holes,” she said as she ended her prep career. “I just went with it.”

Team scores

Deming 343-343—686

Kirtland Central 367-364—731

Artesia 393-399—792

Albuquerque Academy 407-386—793

Farmington 392-402—794

Belen 394-402—796

Piedra Vista 394-402—796

Los Alamos 399-402—801

St. Pius X 405-407—812

Goddard 408-424—832

Individual results

Bianca Dominguez, Deming, 84-77—161

Arrianna Estrada, Belen, 87-75—162

Taylor Jaramillo, Belen, 82-80—162

Kyra Garrison, Piedra Vista, 82-85—167

Cheyenne Molina, Deming, 83-85—168

Lauren Dodson, Deming, 87-84—171

Marion Lansing, Kirtland Central, 86-87—173

Memoree LeCompte, St. Pius X, 89-84—173

Larue Dailleboust, Volcano Vista, 89-87—176

Cassie Hampson, Volcano Vista, 89-94—183

Los Alamos results

Alicia Herrera 92-99—191

Shelby Fellows 100-101—201

Taylor Engleman 104-98—202

Morgan Vaughn 107-104—211

Aislinn McDonald 103-110—213