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For the Centennial High School girls golf team, 2021 will be a year they won’t soon forget.
Of course, the Lady Hawks had to deal with Covid and all the restrictions that came with practicing and playing during a pandemic.
But the Centennial girls also had plenty of success on the links.
The Hawks won district, qualified for the state championship for the first time ever as a team, took third as a team at state in 5A and had an individual gold medalist at the state championships.
Centennial sophomore Alex Armendariz shot a 1-under 71 at the Arroyo Del Oso Golf Course in Albuquerque on June 21 to become the first girl from a Las Cruces public school to win a state individual golf title.
Courtney Andersson of Mesilla Valley Christian won a state title in A-4A in 2016.
“It feels really good,” Armendariz said of her individual title. “It has been my dream to be a state champ. Ever since I was a little, I wanted this. My brother (Robert Armendariz Jr.) played for Centennial. I always watched him practice with the team and thought it was cool. My dad sometimes plays for fun too.”
Centennial golf coach Greg Garcia said the “sky’s the limit” for Armendariz.
Garcia, a retired police detective, was quick to point out that the Hawks got plenty of other strong performances that helped boost his girls into a third-place team finish at state.
Sophomore Brooklyn Maes shot an 82 at state and finished 10th. Junior Macy Silva shot a 94 and took 24th, teammate and fellow junior Sidda Schultz shot 100 and took 34th and sophomore Arianna Rel came in at 113 and finished 47th.
“It is a steppingstone,” Garcia said. “They are probably thinking the same thing I am: Everyone is coming back and next year, we have a chance to do better.”
Despite her top-10 finish, Maes said she was slightly disappointed with her showing. She was 2-over through 13 holes and “then things happened,” she said.
Maes said that what really helped pull the Lady Hawks through the challenges of playing golf during a pandemic was how good of friends everyone on the team is.
“We went through a lot, but I don’t think it fazed us,” she said. “We really came together during the season.”
Silva said everyone on the team was scattered across the Arroyo Del Oso Golf Course at state but she saw that Armendariz was 2 or 3 strokes under par at 12.
“I was like, ‘Come on Alex, I know you can do it,’” Silva said.
“I was so happy for Alex,” Silva added. “I was crying for Alex. Brook was crying for Alex. And then we found out we got third (as a team). So that made me proud of our team too.”
Schultz said that the Lady Hawks are all “super competitive, but we are also happy when someone else (on our team) does well.”
“I’m excited for next year,” Schultz said. “If we stay at the rate we are going, we should have a really good season.”
Rel played golf competitively for the first time this season.
She said the key to their successful year was “all the hard work we put in and the coaching.”
The Las Cruces High girls team took fourth place, finishing just five strokes behind Centennial.
Junior Erica Williams took eighth place for Las Cruces with an 81, while Abriella Muniz, another junior, was tied for 14th at 85.
Also for Las Cruces, sophomore Hannah Michael shot 92 for a 21st-place showing, freshman Ariana Cisneros shot 94 for 24th place and sophomore Kaci Groves carded a 119 for 51st.
In the boys 5A state championships, Centennial junior Noah Gillihan shot a 77 to finish 12th. Mayfield’s Dominick Jaquez shot an 87 to finish 32nd.
In the state A-3A championships at Los Altos Golf Course in Albuquerque, the Mesilla Valley Christian boys took fourth place in the team competition.
Logan Morris was sixth with an 82, Riley Morris was tied for ninth with an 85 and Aydan Muro was 12th at 86.