SANTA FE, N.M. — After repeating last season as Class 1A-4A high school state golf champions, it looked like the St. Michael’s squad was headed for a mini-dynasty while moving to 1A-3A this season.
With three returning veteran players, including state runner-up Carissa Padilla, who was the individual state champ in 2017, the Horsemen appeared to be a shoo-in to make at least another strong run for the title.
Well, rear up on those reins just a bit.
Those three returning players, which also include the coach’s daughter Miquela Martinez and improving junior Alyssa Torres, are the only girls who showed up for the team.
“If we had that fourth, I think we would make a really good run at state,” said St. Mike’s coach Robin Martinez.
For some reason, the Horsemen failed to round up that elusive fourth player this season and time is growing short to do so.
Under NMAA rules, to compete in the state tournament, each individual member of the team must complete three legs of a qualifying score – defined as the course rating plus 25 strokes – on three difference courses.
St. Mike’s has its own tournament Monday, the two-day Hobbs Invitational April 22-23 and the Robertson Spring Invite April 29, plus the district tournament in early May for a late-arriving Horseman to collect those legs.
Or, coach Martinez said, the team can qualify by winning the district tournament, while also putting together a team qualifying score of the course rating plus 130 strokes.
The latter might be the team’s best shot at gaining entry to the state tournament as a squad – if that fourth player can be found.
Padilla and Martinez have both already qualified for state as individuals, and Torres is well on her way, coach Martinez said.
“We have the ability to win district and have a qualifying score at district; we just need that fourth player,” coach Martinez said. “We thought we were going to have other girls. Other girls said they were going to come out. But other commitments, schoolwork, who knows?”
Last year’s squad had five members, but with two seniors graduating, there was a void that has been left unfilled.
“Well, that’s what happens when you have seniors and they leave,” she said. “The other thing, at a school like St. Michael’s, even anywhere in Santa Fe, you have kids who play other sports. There’s a softball player who plays golf, but she chose softball. Other girls out there play, but they just haven’t come out. We have some younger girls, seventh-graders, but they’re not eligible to play varsity until they’re in eighth grade. Santa Fe has always had small numbers in terms of golfers. You look at Santa Fe and Capital, they may have one or two each.”
So, for now, all coach Martinez can do is concentrate on the players she has.
And that’s not such a bad thing as Padilla, who consistently shoots in the 70s, is proving to be one of the top golfers in the state and as a junior is starting to draw some interest from colleges.
Miquela Martinez is generally in the 80s, but has a different future as she signed a volleyball scholarship with Felician University in Rutherford, New Jersey, within sight of New York City.
And Torres is coming along, regularly dropping her score in the 90s.
“It’s just encouraging to see them playing this well this early in the spring season, given the weather that we’ve had,” coach Martinez said. “We haven’t had a consistent practice day after day. We have a good two days, then the weather puts you out. But they’re looking good, swinging good and they have a good attitude. They’re a fun group of girls to be around.”
Now if one more Horseman could wander in.
“If we just had one more player who could shoot between 100 and 120, we’d be golden,” she said.