The Socorro girls enjoy a group hug to celebrate their 21st state championship.
Glen Rosales photos for El Defensor Chieftain

For this year, bragging rights in the Griego household go to Socorro girls golf coach Kristin Griego.

The Warriors didn’t just win the Class 3A state championship Tuesday at The Canyon Club at Four Hills. They laid waste to the competition with a 2-day total of 776, winning by an astounding 111 strokes over runner-up Dexter.

Led by individual medalist Dayzie Whitehorse, who shot a 184 for a 2-stroke win over Bosque School’s Lauren Buffet, the Warriors also placed junior Tivonne Anaya at third with a 192 and 8th grader Natasha Apodaca sixth with a 198.

Boys coach and Griego’s husband Miguel Griego said he couldn’t be happier for his spouse and the ladies squad and will celebrate by caddying for his wife this weekend at a tournament in Albuquerque.

While his boys managed a fourth-place finish with a 779, Miguel Griego said he knows far better days are ahead as the team loses just one senior and has several young, strong players waiting their turn.

Socorro 8th grader Natasha Apodace chips an approach on the 17th green Tuesday en route to a 2-day total of 198, helping the Warriors win the Class 3A state championship.

For the girls, it was the 21st state championship in program history and gives the Warriors consecutive titles. And like the boys, plenty more should be on the horizon as Whitehorse is the team’s only senior.

“All year we’ve been playing very good golf and steadily getting better,” said Socorro coach Kristin Griego. “Coming into here, I know we were ranked No. 1 and with a scoring average 20 shots better than the next team.”

The Warriors built up a 50-stroke lead after the first round and then were able to coast to the finish.

But Whitehorse had some work to do as she sat in third after Monday’s round, one stroke behind Buffett and teammate Anaya.

“I struggled a bit (Monday) but I still ended up with a score that I was still OK with,” she said. “And (Tuesday) I am more proud and feel better about my score.”

Whitehorse was able to shave eight-stroke off her total for an 88, giving her a 184.

“It hasn’t really hit yet,” she said of the individual medal. “I have strived for this. My goal was to get third place or higher and to get state championship, that makes me more overjoyed than anything and to be a senior, as well…”

Ally Martinez finished with a 202 for seventh and Alex Crespin was 13th at 217.

“We lost two seniors this year, but we had some young ones come up and they really stepped up big for us,” Kristin Griego said. Tuesday “was just about having fun. Getting it done. (Monday) we were a little shaky to start. They were all pretty tense and feeling pretty nervous. We made a couple of big numbers and towards the end, we settled down but it still wasn’t one of our best rounds. It was not our best, but they knew we had a significant lead and (Tuesday) they were able to relax and just play golf.”

Apodaca said the experience was an amazing one.

“It’s really cool. I didn’t expect us to win, sadly, so it’s really cool,” she said. “I’m pretty pleased with the way I’ve played. It’s not the best I’ve played but not the worst either.”

And playing with a such a tightly bonded group made it easy to fit in, she said.

“It’s crazy. I feel like I play pretty decent for where I’m at, but I learned how to keep a positive mindset on the course. They’ve helped me with my strokes, my swings. Helped me with everything. It’s not just you, it’s all of us being there for each other.”

The boys are looking ahead to better days, senior Moises Castillo said he will remember fondly how he learned to play golf after the state’s health orders restricted playing baseball for almost two years.

“Golf was like the only thing you could do,” he said. “I’m a two-year player and I would like to thank both of my coaches, Miguel Griego and Kristin Griego. Without them, I wouldn’t nearly be the golfer that I am. I’m not saying I’m gold, but they’ve really pushed me and worked with me to help me achieve coming to and competing in the district and state level two years in a row. They have pushed me and they are truly coaches that care about their players and I appreciate that 100 percent.”

And that’s what it’s all about, Miguel Griego said.

“Especially at this level, championships are great, but to make the person an all-around better person, that’s what we’re looking to do,” he said of the philosophy the husband and wife coaching team employs. “The championships, those are just little tokens that we get to put on our hat or whatever. We get great pride in helping make them young men and young women.”

Glen Rosales for El Defensor Chieftain