Rattler golfers falter at state

William Thompson

The Tucumcari High School golf team, Nick Wiegel, Larry Roybal, Matt Smith, Aaron Peacock and Brian Lopez, did not do as well as expected at the state golf tournament recently.

The tournament was held on a course near Farmington, and Rattler Coach Charlie Maciel said that it was one of the toughest courses his players had faced. “That course has a target-oriented back nine that challenged our golfers,” said Maciel. “That back nine can make players a little gun-shy on the second day.” Larry Roybal, a senior, said the team was nervous, it being the state tournament. “We were a little nervous,“ said Roybal. “Plus, there were 40 mph winds the second day.”

Roybal finished with an 86 on the first day and shot an 89 on the second day of the tournament. Wiegel scored 82 on the first day and 88 on the second day. Matt Smith shot a 93 and 94 respectively and Aaron Peacock shot an 82 and a 94. Brian Lopez shot an 86 and an 87. The golfer with the lowest score in the tournament shot a 66. There were eleven teams competing, and Tucumcari finished tenth.
Coach Maciel has drawn some positives from the experience. “The three returning golfers will know what to expect next year,” said Maciel. “They wanted to play better, but they realized they will have to work on their game.”

Maciel said that as he looks back on the season he sees two distinct halves. “The season was twofold,” said Maciel. “During the first half of the season I saw very little progress, but they all came on strong in the end.” Looking ahead, Maciel said he sees no reason why the Rattlers won’t be an improved team. “We’ve got three of our best golfers coming back,” he said. “We’ve also got a few sophomores who might have an impact. We’ll have a good team next year.” Maciel made special mention of Larry Roybal. “My partner and I started an award a few years ago called the “Joe Litchfield Award”, in honor of Joe, who was killed in a car accident,” he said. “We haven’t given the award in several years, but this year we thought Larry deserved it as the Rattlers’ most outstanding golfer of the year.”