The spring golf season begins Tuesday in Cortez, Colo., at Conquistador Golf Course. The District 1-4A championship is likely to come down to Kirtland Central and Piedra Vista, and the individual district championship is also expected to be competitive between golfers from the two schools.
Kirtland Central junior Tristin Goodwin returns as the top Broncos' boy. Goodwin has placed second in district as an individual each of the last two years, and he is expected to be in the running again this year alongside a slew of Piedra Vista golfers.
“He's been shooting around the medalist score for us all fall and has been very solid,” said Kirtland Central boys' head coach Chuck Soria about Goodwin. “He's set a goal to make a run at the district and state 4A title.”
During the fall season, Goodwin earned all three qualifying legs for state as an individual while the Kirtland Central team is just one leg away from qualifying the entire team.
Kirtland Central senior Derek Frank has also already qualified as an individual.
“Those are the ones I can always rely on. They've switched off as No. 1 for us, and I can always depend on them to shoot right around par,” Soria said of Frank and Goodwin.
Frank and Goodwin will be challenged by four PV golfers, all of whom are all capable of winning district, said Panthers' head coach Floyd Kurley.
Led by senior captain Jackson Gurley and junior Patrick Gregoire, the Panthers also have two qualifying legs as a team.
“I am expecting a lot out of Gurley. He has qualified as an individual, and he is the leader of our group,” Kurley said. “Gregoire is our No. 1 man right now. We really have a fight for the top spot between Gregoire, Gurley and Donald Thorton. Then we have Riley Rahm and Dennis Rahm to round out our top five. They are all in the mix and within two or three strokes of each other.”
PV lost last year's District 1-4A champ Preston Nutt to graduation but returned three of the top five district placers from a season ago.
“I think we are pretty strong. We are confident,” Kurley said. “Kirtland Central always has a good team, and we have a lot of respect for them, but we have to play our game.”
Kurley said he expects the individual district championship to come down to Kirtland Central's Goodwin and whoever plays the best on the day of the district tournament.
Soria agrees with Kurley's assessment.
“We have played Farmington and PV and all the local schools. We matched up good with them,” Soria said. “I'd say within a couple of weeks we'll know where we'll fit. I think it'll be between us and PV. Those kids have been playing against each other for years, and it's always fun.”
Farmington High is led by senior Brett Pash. The Scorpions also picked up Bobby Shuttleworth for the spring season after he missed the fall playing football. Junior Hayden Stalker also helps lead the Farmington boys' team. Farmington head coach Duane Toledo was unavailable for comment at press time on Tuesday.
Aztec's boys' golf team is still young. The Tigers haven't picked up a qualifying leg yet and head coach Don Greenwood said this season is about building toward next year.
The Tigers will be led by sophomores Raymond Torres and Cagen Kovacs this season, as well as sophomore Matthew Lucero.
“All of our guys are shooting in the 80s. We haven't quite got down into the 70s yet, but some of them have the ability to do it, and they are working hard at it,” Greenwood said.
For a look at the girls' spring golf season, see Thursday's print edition of The Daily Times and go to www.daily-times.com.
John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.
Joshua Perry can be reached at email@example.com; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.