By Dave Wagner
CLOVIS — Even though the Portales High boys golf team again came up short against Clovis in Thursday’s Clovis Invitational, Rams coach Patrick Crowley likes the way his team is playing.
Portales shot a four-man score of 307 to finish three shots behind the host Wildcats, who rallied down the stretch to take the team title at Clovis Municipal Golf Course.
“This time of year what’s nice is they all know what they need to work on,” Crowley said of his squad. “We’re still not playing the par-5s as good as I’d like, but we’ve definitely got it going in the right direction.”
Eighth-graders Donavin Sanchez and William Archibeque continue to make a major impact. Sanchez led Portales on Thursday, shooting a 3-over 74, while Archibeque and junior Chris Adkins followed at 77.
Senior Dale Welch finished at 79, while senior Trevor Ferguson shot 81.
“The two eighth-graders played well again,” Crowley said. “The (relatively short) length of the course kind of played into their hands.
“(The 74) was good for Donavin. That’ll help him a bunch.”
Adkins said the Rams had hoped to sneak up and beat Clovis.
“That’s the third time they’ve beaten us by three strokes this season,” he said. “I putted bad today, but other than that I played pretty well.”
It looked like Clovis was vulnerable for a time, but the Wildcats rallied late when senior standouts Travis Reid and Guillermo Chavez combined for seven birdies over the final five holes.
Clovis boys coach George Simmons said Sanchez and Archibeque compare favorably to when Reid and Chavez were playing for the Wildcats as eighth-graders.
“Portales is a tough team,” Simmons said. “I think they have a chance of taking the state 1A-3A title this year.”
Adkins said the tournament served as a good tuneup for Tuesday’s District 4/1A-3A meet at Lovington, where the Rams hope to challenge New Mexico Military for team honors.
“Clovis is just as good as NMMI,” he said. “This is kind of like a pre-district tournament.”
Hobbs won the girls team title easily at 356, 40 shots ahead of runnerup Clovis. Senior Michelle Miller led the three-player Portales girls contingent at 45-57 — 102.