The Belen High School golf teams walked off the 18th green for the final time this season at the District 3-4A tournament in Deming on Tuesday.
The Belen girls finished fourth in the field of five schools with a 457. Albuquerque Academy placed first with 325, followed by Deming (410) and Las Cruces Oñate.
The Eagle boys finished at the bottom of their side of the tournament, carding a 384. Host Deming won with 320, followed by Academy (331), Sliver High (344) and Oñate (370).
Though the team didn’t finish as high as they would have liked, there were a few bright spots in the season finale.
Debbie Gale, an experienced varsity golfer, and freshman Danielle Griego each shot their best scores of the season. Gale finished with a 118 and Griego shot 109.
“Danielle is my most improved player,” said Belen’s first-year coach David Medina. “She started out as our No. 5 golfer and worked her way up to No. 2. She works really hard on her game and is a very stable presence on and off the course.”
Senior Jaime Pacheco anchored the team throughout the year but had an up and down season. Pacheco qualified two legs for the state tournament but was unable to earn the final leg to get in.
Lauren Zabicki and Gale both improved over the course of the season as well, Medina said, adding that both girls will be solid players by next year, if they concentrate on their games.
Another trio who displayed improvement were Natalie and Denise Garley and Mallory Stark. “With a little more dedication and some work, they could really help us out a lot next year,” the coach said.
As for the boys, Chris Griffith played in the No. 1 spot all season. He is only a sophomore and is in his second season on varsity. Working at the golf course has helped him get his game going, according to Medina.
“I give all the credit for his play to the guys he works with at the course and his work ethic,” Medina said.
Senior Danny Young and junior Jaron Andrews were the team’s stability throughout the season. “Danny was consistent all year, and this is his first varsity season,” Medina said, “and Jaron is the most stable guy on the team, on and off the course. His demeanor is always the same.”
Marc Sanchez, Jason Durbin and Jason Monceballez competed for the final two spots on the team throughout the season.
“Marc is long off the tee, but he needs to play more golf to get his game together,” Medina said. “Jason (Monceballez) was splitting time between golf and soccer, and I think he is going to have to choose one or the other in the spring. (Durbin) really turned it on at the end of the season, even though his final score didn’t reflect that.”
After a relatively disappointing season, Medina is looking forward to the future of Eagle golf.
“We had a young team, and next year we’ll have some other kids coming up to make us more competitive,” he said. “We showed a lot of improvement, and we will get better in time.”