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Five state girls golf championships for St. Michael’s under head coach Robin Martinez

In 2015, the team had only one player, freshman Miquela Martinez, then it picked up once her mom took over again 

By Arnie Leshin
Commentary by Arnie Leshin

If there is credit to be distributed, it belongs to Robin Martinez.

As the former head coach of St. Michael’s girl’s golf, she had paved the way to three-straight state 1-3A championships, 2004, 2005, 2006. Her oldest daughter, Jonelle, added the individual title in 2006. 

That was it, three years at coaching the program was enough for coach Martinez. There were several others who held the position, including two-time state champion, the former Alyssa Otero. 

Then came 2015, no coach and only one player, a 5-foot-6 8th grader, Miquela Martinez, Robin’s younger daughter. That was it, no one else came out and so once again Robin Martinez stepped in, this time so that her daughter had an official coach required by the NMAA.

The following year, Miquela recruited 8th graders Carisa Padilla and Alyssa Torres, and now there were three under head coach Martinez. 

In 2017, basketball players Danielle Vigil, a senior, and Sydney Halford, a junior, decided to take up golfing and that finally brought the program the required five players that included Miquela, Padilla and Torres.

And last year, the program had another state title, this one in 1-4A, but it wasn’t the way it was scheduled. When a heavy downpour, nasty wind and cold weather forced the tournament officials to cancel the event, first place went to first-round leader St. Michael’s.  

But wanting to go the whole nine yards this time, the Lady Horsemen won again. it was the full event, no rain, no wind, no cancelling. It was a title won by the “Fab 5”, Padilla and her senior sister, Bella, Miquela Martinez, Torres, and Halford, a senior who returned.

And coach Martinez. Five years as head coach, five titles. The only time she didn’t hoist the trophy was when the team was short of players. 

Last year was at the Pinon Hills course in Farmington. This time, it was played at the Canyon Club of Four Hills in Albuquerque and St. Michael’s had to come from behind to edge Albuquerque Hope Christian. 

Trailing by 10 strokes after Monday’s opening round, the Lady Horsemen took the lead on the back nine of Tuesday’s final round to claim back-to-back state titles for the first time since the three-straight under coach Martinez. 

Carisa Padilla was the runner-up, Miquela Martinez finished fourth, the second time in a row for both. Hopefully, coach Martinez will hang around for awhile because St. Michael’s welcomes her success. 

Otero was the first Lady Horsemen to win state honors. And when she became head coach in 2009, freshman Jamie Palermo became her best player and state individual champion. She carded an 83-83-166. When Jonelle Martinez took top honors in 2006, she had a score of 78-80-158.


Currently, Jonelle is the school’s assistant athletic director.

In last year’s weather cancellation, Carisa Padilla shot 78 for the first round. She should return next year with Miquela and Torres. That still leaves two spots open, but the return to success for this program should help out.  

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