Socorro girls own golf title … again

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Winning never gets old. Ask the Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball team that won 90 consecutive games or the Brandon High School wrestling squad in Florida that reeled off a 459 match win streak.

Or you can just go ask the Socorro High School girls golf team.

The Lady Warriors tallied their sixth consecutive class 1-3A state championship earlier this week in Albuquerque, and did so in convincing fashion. Socorro shot a collective 666 at the University of New Mexico Golf Course, their closest competitor finishing 56 strokes back.

The Lady Warriors dominated the field as expected at the 2012 state tournament, and the final outcome was never really in question. For head coach Margaret Stanley though, watching her girls bring home trophy after trophy, year after year, hasn’t lost it’s appeal.

“Every year it’s a thrill,” she said.

Stanley may still have a blast watching her team compete, but the only drama that spectators bore witness to during the tournament was which Lady Warrior would bring home the individual girls title.

Socorro sophomore Shania Berger came into state competition as the defending champion, but this year junior Kristen Cline would conquer both UNM’s course as well as chilly, biting, 50 mph winds to bring home her second title in three years.

Cline ignored the harassing weather and shot a day one five over par 77, four strokes ahead of Bosque’s Sarah Greene and Klara Castillo of Sandia Prep. Cline’s 77 represented the best score of the tournament on either the boys’ or girls’ side, or at least it did until she beat it on day two.

As the weather improved on Tuesday, so did Cline, and she bested her score by three strokes en route to shooting a second round 74 and an overall tournament best 151.

“That was incredible,” Stanley said. “She had an incredible round.”

The only player who came remotely close to challenging Cline on day two was Berger, who shot a 76 and closed out championship play with an overall score of 158.

“I feel pretty good,” Cline said. She knows that not many people can say they’ve been part of a title winning team for four straight years and part of a program that’s won six in a row, but she puts in the time and effort that teams like Socorro need to be continually successful.

“Kristen is very dedicated. She works very hard at her game,” Stanley said. “She’s a perfectionist, she requires a lot of herself.”

Cline’s dedication obviously shows up on the course, but she wasn’t the only reason the Lady Warriors brought home another first place trophy. Brittani Webb finished in fifth place for the second year in a row with a score of 177, Mia Salome tied for ninth at 180 and Theresa Chavez finished in a three-way tie for 22 place.

Berger was unable to defend her title and finished seven strokes back of Cline in second place, but she knows that keeping the championship streak alive took precedence.

“Yesterday (Monday), I didn’t play very well, but today I pulled it together, I shot a good score and I was proud of myself for that,” she said. “We wanted to bring home another win and we did.”

Besides, she’ll have a few more opportunities to clobber state competition. She, Kline, Salome and Chavez will all be back next year to try and push their streak even further, and Stanley knows that her squad will never be in a position to become complacent. After all, winning never gets old but success almost never comes without hard work.

“It’s never a comfortable thing,” she said. “I never sit back and go ‘Hey, we’ve got it made this year’.”

Humility and respect for competition are never bad qualities to have in a program, but it might not be a stretch to go ahead and say that the 2013 Lady Warriors have a pretty good shot of bringing home their seventh championship in a row.