SANTA ANA PUEBLO — Albuquerque Academy’s boys and girls swept the Class 4A state golf titles on Tuesday at Santa Ana Golf Club, but it was Belen that shined individually at the top.
Sophomore Grady Cox and freshman Rylee Salome posted victories for the Eagles, with Cox edging a trio of challengers by two strokes, and Salome rolling to a 10-shot triumph.
Salome led by five when the day began, and she doubled her lead after shooting a bogey-free, 2-under 70 on Tuesday. She said she didn’t even look at scoreboards during her round to see if anyone was close to her.
“It’s kind of always been a dream of mine to win state, so it was just really exciting,” Salome said. “My (game plan) today was just to play my game, and not really worry about the score, and just stay out of trouble.”
Academy’s girls led by 29 shots at the end of Monday’s first round, and that was exactly the margin of team victory, 709-738 over Lovington.
“The girls did really well,” Chargers coach Dave Michel said. “I was very proud of them.”
Callia Ward and Anya Parasher finished third and fourth, individually, for Academy. Chase Fields of Goddard was the runner-up to Salome.
Cox shared the lead with three other players entering Tuesday. He shot 70, including a flawless 3-under on his back nine, to overtake Silver’s Jacob Alcorta, who led Cox by four shots when Cox made the turn. Alcorta tied for second as Cox waited out Alcorta’s finish in the clubhouse.
“I made the turn, and it was go time,” Cox said. “I just tried to stay patient and play my best.”
Cox also won state as a freshman, in a playoff. Last year’s event was only 18 holes.
“I really like multiple-day tournaments,” he said. “I think they play to my advantage.”
Clark Sonnenberg of Academy fired a 68 on Tuesday and tied for second with Alcorta and Academy teammate Tay Hwang. Another Charger, Neil Parasher, finished solo fifth. The top six finishers individually — and ties — earn All-State honors in all three classifications.
(Click here for team, individual final scores.)