Clovis golfers, from left, Austin Spears, Ben Blair and Kyler Brewer watch teammate Brad Props, attempt a putt during Friday’s practice at Clovis Municipal Golf Course. Clovis’ squads open the season Monday at Hobbs.(CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
With the end of the Travis Reid-Guillermo Chavez era two years ago, the Clovis High boys golf team is looking for a return to the top of District 4-5A.
The Wildcats were consistent Class 5A state contenders with Reid and Chavez, who graduated in 2005 and are now playing at New Mexico State and New Mexico, respectively. Last year, they were 15 strokes behind Carlsbad in the district tournament.
The CHS boys and girls squads are slated to open the 2007 season on Monday in the Tasker Invitational at Hobbs.
“Winning district is one of our big goals,” said first-year boys coach Cal Fullerton, who replaces George Simmons. “Last year was the first time in a long time that Clovis hasn’t qualified for state as a team, and that’s something we want to do.”
The Cats graduated Jordan Moore, their top player from a year ago, but Fullerton said sophomore Tyler Fontenot and seniors Brad Props and Ben Blair hope to step into the lead roles.
Behind those three, Fullerton said several players are competing for the other two starting positions.
“We’ve got six or seven kids who will be battling to play on the varsity all year,” Fullerton said. “There are a couple of freshmen and eighth-graders who may help us later on.”
The teams’ second tournament, on March 12 at UNM South in Albuquerque, will be at the site of the 5A tournament in May.
Fullerton knows he has some big shoes to fill in replacing Simmons, who helped build the Cats into a force to be reckoned with statewide.
“It’ll be a learning experience for me,” he said. “I’m trying to get us to be more team-oriented.”
Cristy Hill has taken over the CHS girls program after assisting Jeff Fontanilla last year. Hill is currently recuperating from knee surgery after injuring herself while playing volleyball.
She had surgery on Tuesday, and expects to be in a brace and on crutches for perhaps a month.
The Lady Wildcats qualified for state for a second consecutive year in 2006, and return three of their top players from last year in seniors Amanda Estes, Tiffany Reid and Marissa Lansford.
“We’re looking for some younger kids to step up for us,” Hill said. “But we do have some leadership back.”
Hill said she’s also looking for some good things from sophomores Brooke Switzer and Kolby Rains.
The Lady Cats’ roster numbers around 15, which is up a bit from recent seasons.
“We’ve really worked hard this year to get the numbers out,” Hill said. “Last year, I think we ended up with only eight players.”