Monday, Rockwind Community Links was suppose to hosting the first day of the New Mexico Athletics Association Class 5A state championship golf tournament. Today would have been the second round, and a team championship, and individual champion, would have been crowned state champions. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, Rockwind lost out on hosting the state championship at Class 5A as the tournament will rotate back to Albuquerque.
Another loss with the state tournament not being played at Rockwind is the Hobbs boys and girls’ golf team will not be able to host the tournament on their home course and with that, lose out on a chance to win a state title at home. The Eagle and Lady Eagle golfers did not have much of a season, playing only one tournament before the season was postponed and eventually cancelled. For Hobbs head coach Victor Rotunno, the loss of the season is a disappointment in not only losing out on playing the state tournament at Rockwind, but also because two of his players lost out on their senior season.
“I’m extra disappointed cause we only had two girl seniors,” Rotunno said. “One of the girls is my daughter and it really, really breaks my heart for both those girls. It especially breaks my heart not seeing my daughter compete her last year.
“It meant everything, it really did,” Rotunno continued. “We worked really hard trying to get the state tournament down here to Hobbs and fortunately 3A and 4A where able to play in the rotation. Now it was this year for the big schools to have it and Hobbs to be the host, a total detriment.”
Both of Rotunno’s senior Lady Eagles agreed with his sentiment of losing out on the season and not getting the chance to play their final season.
“Of course it was devastating, but I didn’t play in the (season-opening) tournament because my wrist was hurt,” Maddie Rotunno said. “So that kind of made it harder to grasp the concept that I wasn’t going to have a season at all. It’s really sad, but there is nothing I can do. So I have to try to not get too sad about it and accept it for what it is. Accept that my season last year was really good at least I finished out on a good season.
“The state tournament in itself is an honor to play in,” Maddie Rotunno continued. “But playing at your home course is more special. So I was looking forward to it but it’s really sad that I didn’t get to in my senior season.”
Rotunno added that she would miss her teammates and coaches now that her time with the Lady Eagles is over.
“At first I was super bummed about it (losing season),” Alyssa Rojas, Hobbs’ other senior girl said. “But I’ve played since my eighth grade year and I fought back and had nothing but good times with the team and my coaches. I honestly owe it all to them for them helping become a better golfer and although I only got to play one tournament this year, I really appreciated the time and effort my coaches put into it. As a team we strived for one goal and we met that goal of going out and play our best. At the end of the day good or bad we come together as a team and say we have it next time.
“It feels like something was taken away from me. Something that I cant get back that I worked so hard for.”
Rojas added that even though she will not get to play in the state tournament she believes in her teammates that return next season will make a run to the state tournament and compete for the championship.
Rotunno offered some advice to his two senior players on the chance of being robbed not only the chance to play the state tournament at Rock-wind but finishing their high school career in front of friends and family.
“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “Even more so because one happens to be my kid. It’s difficult and it’s little touchy. But you do your best that you possible can, and you let them know that it is out of everybody’s control. There are greater things in life that we have to be thankful for and there are greater things in life that have happened. There are worse things that could be happening, that could have happened so we just have to be thankful, thoughtful, and pray for those good things we have. And those are some of the things I told both of them. There’s a lot worse that could be happening in the world and a lot worse that can be happening to us individually within our family and we just have to be thankful and pray to god. And give thanks for the stuff we do have and move forward and understand this is just a blimp on the radar for the rest of our life for everything we want to do and want to accomplish as high school seniors, kids going to college, and what they want to accomplish for the rest of their lives.”
Junior Jake Raines agreed with his teammates on losing out the season and not getting the opportunity to play the state tournament at Rockwind.
“It sucks,” he said. “It really sucks. I didn’t play my best that tournament and once I heard the news that all the other tournaments where getting cancelled, I was mad the rest of the week. I got really bummed and you can ask my coach that I was really sad. I would always call him for updates that we could play but it never happened.
“It’s sucks that something like this has never happened before and I some of the best opportunities because it was on my home course. I have been practicing for years now and I have been looking forward to it forever since I was in eighth grade when I found out it was going to be in Hobbs.”
Raines added he is excited to return to the course and play with his teammates next season, as the boys’ team is not losing any players. But he did say he was bummed that the seniors on the girls’ team where not able to play their final season.
With the rotation of the state tournament heading back to Albuquerque, the Hobbs head coach does not believe the state tournament will return to Hobbs anytime soon. He added that it was a letdown to lose out on such an opportunity.
“It’s a bummer,” coach Rotunno said. “The kids where really looking forward to it. We were all looking forward to it, we practiced everyday, we talked about all through the fall and into the spring about, ‘hey once we qualify and once we get to where we need to go we know this is where it will be and we need to practice here and play here.’ We had the home field advantage so to speak because a lot of those teams and players up north they are not able to come down here and play.”
If you are wondering what coach Rotunno believed of his teams’ chances to make the tournament and the performance they would have had, he believes both teams would have been in Rockwind and competing for the title.
“The boys’ team and girls’ team would have qualified for the state tournament,” he said. “I really believe we could have six possibly seven boys qualify, the team which is five and two more individual boys. With the girls, we would have our full team of five qualify. On the girls side we had a really, really legitimate chance to play for the state championship and win it. With the boys and it being our home course even though we had some young kids on varsity, I really believe we would have surprised some people and right in the mix.”
Coach Rotunno added his players were looking forward to the advantage of knowing Rockwind just like the players from the North have the same advantage when the state tournament is held on a course in Albuquerque. He believes the advantage of playing at home and being able to go through your regular routine would have helped his players make a run for the state cham-