Before the greens and fairways have even fully changed from their winter brown to their lush spring jade, the Los Lunas golf team will be taking to the links.
The Los Lunas golf team starts its golf season on Monday and Tuesday with back-to-back tournaments in Valencia county. On Monday the Tigers will be at the Tierra Del Sol Country Club in Belen and on Tuesday the Tigers host a tourney at the Isleta Eagle course.
The Tigers are returning close to 20 players from last year’s team. This year the Tigers will be carrying 35 players on the varsity and junior varsity squads.
“We have a lot of great competition within the squad this year,” head golf coach Steve Clemenson said. “There are a lot of players hanging right around on the bubble, right now it’s too early for me to say this guy will be playing varsity or that guy won’t. We’ll have to see how things go.”
Included in those returners will be junior A.J. Smith, who Clemanson said he expects great things out of this season. Smith had a good season last year and is expected to go even farther this season.
Also coming back to the team is Tim Hutchinson. Hutchinson should be the team’s top senior this year and a leader on the team.
“I am very optimistic that (Hutchinson) will qualify for the state tournament this season,” said Clemenson.
Darren Fleming is another Tiger who has some varsity experience. The coach said he expects some improvement out of Fleming this year.
Despite the numerous returners to the squad, Clemenson said he has a very young team this year.
“We have lost of new and young talent this year,” Clemenson said. “We have two eighth graders who will be seeing time on the varsity team this year.”
Two such young stars are J.D. Wright and Edward Hernandez. Clemenson said that these two are expected to play in the team’s first two tournaments and will be an excellent addition to the team this year.
“Both of these guys have golfing experience,” the coach said. “I expect to see a lot out these two guys in the next four years.”
The Lady Tigers will have eight girls teeing it up on the team, including two returners.
Expected to burn up the greens and torch the tee-boxes for the Lady Tigers are a quartet of ladies.
Isabel Archuleta, a freshman, will be hoping to return to last year’s form and surpass last season’s performance. Archuleta fell only a couple of strikes short of qualifying for the state tournament last season.
“She will definitely go further this year,” Clemenson said. “She (Archuleta) has just continued to get better and better.”
Angela Burnham and her sister Laura should have some good showings in the coming season.
“Angela’s game has really improved in the off-season,” Clemenson said. “And Laura is really coming along this year.”
Also showing some improvement and promise for the upcoming season is junior Kori Bell. Clemenson said that Bell will definitely help the team this year and she could go farther this year than she did last year.
Also hoping to break into the top ranks for the Lady Tigers is Jean Herendeen. Herendeen, who had very little experience before joining the Lady Tigers, according to Clemenson, has really improved dramatically and could be an influential player on the team this year.