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FARMINGTON – With less than a month to go until the state tournament, the Piedra Vista boys golf team received a big boost in confidence on Tuesday when it knocked off Class 5A powerhouse St. Pius X at the Farmington Spring Invitational.

St. Pius was victorious at the Piedra Vista Spring Invitational on Monday at the Piñon Hills Golf Course, beating PV by 11 strokes. The Panthers returned the favor a day later by finishing first ahead of six other qualifying schools — including Pius, which PV edged by 16 strokes, 314-330.

The Farmington boys were third on Monday but well behind PV's second-place score of 326, as the Scorps ended up with 352. Farmington fell back to fourth out of six qualifying teams on Tuesday and just one stroke back of fourth-place Los Lunas. Kirtland Central was sixth out of eight and then sixth out of six on Tuesday.

PV coach Tom Yost said Pius outplayed PV on Monday, adding that his trio of standout freshmen — River Smalley and Trey and Tyler Diehl — all struggled at some point during the round. But Smalley did overcome a bout with adversity by rebounding from a quadruple-bogey on the first hole and a double-bogey on the second to still shoot nine over par.

The next day, PV's big three powered the Panthers to victory, as Smalley and Trey Diehl tied for third individually with each shooting a 77 and Tyler Diehl shooting a 78, good for sixth. Yost said his talented freshmen are "a coach's dream."

"I always know those three are out practicing or playing somewhere, doing something to get better," Yost said. "Their drive and their will to do all things golf really makes my job easier."

Farmington's Zack Holesinger also broke 80 on Tuesday, shooting a 79.

PV, St. Pius and Artesia are the only three 5A teams to qualify for state so far this spring.

Led by Kyla Jones, the Kirtland Central girls team won a tight battle at Monday's PV Spring Invitational. The Lady Broncos' team score of 421 was four shots better than second-place PV (425) and six ahead of Albuquerque Academy (427). Aztec was fifth out of five qualifiers at 439.

Jones, who finished sixth in the state as an individual last year despite her team not qualifying, earned her seventh qualifying leg after shooting an 85 on Monday and a 91 on Tuesday, which were both good enough for second.

Like the boys, the Lady Panthers stepped up their game on Tuesday and won the FHS Invitational with a team score of 408. Aztec came in second at 414, and KC slipped back to 425.

KC girls coach Steve Williams said he was encouraged by his team's effort on Monday and thought the quick turnaround explained the Tuesday drop-off.

"The girls were a little tired," he said. "Most of them got home around 7 (p.m.) and then had to get up and do it all over again, which we pretty much never do. So that was tough."

Linda Peralta was solid for Aztec on Tuesday with a top score of 84. PV's Chantalle Kovacs and Sydney Schumacher helped PV come out on top with dual scores of 94.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577. 

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