LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State women’s golf team kicks off its spring schedule with a trip to New Braunfels, Texas, to compete in the Jim West Classic hosted by Texas State. The two-day tournament begins Monday, Feb. 17, and concludes on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Bandit Golf Club.
The tournament will consist of three 18-hole rounds. The first two rounds will be played on Monday and the final 18 holes on Tuesday. Each day will start with a 7:15 a.m. (MT) shotgun start.
The Aggies will be part of a 15-team field that will also include: host Texas State, I-10 rival UTEP, Gonzaga, Cal State Fullerton, Colorado State, Ball State, Boise State, Eastern Michigan, Arkansas-Little Rock, BYU, Boston College, Missouri State, Montana and the University of the Incarnate Word.
NM State and head coach Jackie Booth will travel with the five-golfer team of freshman Valeria Macias, sophomores Kacey Dalpes and Viviana Macias and juniors Laura Barron and Paige Darwin.
The Aggies are coming off a very productive fall season that saw the team compete in four tournaments. NM State started the fall with a third-place finish at the Hobble Creek Invitational in Utah and concluded the fall by finishing in a tie for second place, one shot behind champion Sacramento State, at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Hawai’i.
“We had a great fall season with a second and third-place finish,” Aggie assistant coach Danny Bowen said. “With the hard we put in, we dropped our total tournament scores by 13 shots per tournament over the previous fall.”
NM State is led by a core group of four golfers who competed in all four tournaments in the fall.
The Macias sisters have stepped up to become leaders on a young Aggie team. Freshman Valeria finished in third place individually in Hawai’i, NM State’s highest individual finish of the fall. Her sister Viviana was right behind, finishing in a tie for fourth on the islands. Viviana was also the top Aggie finisher at the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational and NM State’s home tournament, the Price’s “Give ‘Em Five” Intercollegiate. She also has the Aggies’ lowest average, 76.50, for golfers participating in at least two tournaments.
Dalpes added to her stellar freshman campaign with a great sophomore fall season. She started the season by finishing in a tie for ninth at the Hobble Creek Invitational, her third top-10 finish in her young Aggie career. Dalpes also had the low round of the fall schedule for NM State, tying her career low of 2-under 70. It was the fourth time Dalpes had shot par or better in three semesters of play.
Barron, meanwhile, also participated in all four tournaments in the fall. She tied her personal career low round of 3-over 75 twice during the fall. Barron started the season with a career-best finish at the Hobble Creek Invitational, a tie for 24th place.
The birdie count for the four Aggie golfers exemplifies their high level of play. Valeria leads the squad with 21 birdies in the fall. Her older sister Viviana, along with Dalpes, are one birdie behind with 20 each while Barron is right behind them with 19 total birdies.
The Jim West Classic will be the first of five spring tournaments NM State will part of in preparation for the WAC Championships in Mesa, Ariz., April 25-27.
“Our goal for the year, as it has been since day one of the fall semester, is to win the WAC Championship in Arizona at the end of April,” Bowen said.
Aggie fans can follow the action in Texas live with live scoring, which will be available by going to www.birdiefire.com. Fans can also log on to NMStateSports.com after each day’s events for complete recaps of team and individual scores.