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Clabaugh, Richards win top awards

Between them, Seth Clabaugh and Kassandra Richards helped account for seven different team trophies. Monday night, they accounted for two more individually.

Clabaugh and Richards were awarded the greatest Ram awards at the conclusion of Monday’s annual Portales High School athletics banquet.

The two-hour event was basically a wrap-up for the entire season of Ram and Lady Ram sports, with each coach talking on the fall and spring sports at the school.

The school earned five different team trophies over the season — three first-place trophies (volleyball, girls basketball and girls tennis), one runnerup (baseball) and one third-place (boys golf).

Three athletes ended up with individual state titles — Rachelle Self and Hailey Quick in 1A-3A tennis girls doubles, and Kevin Welch in 1A-3A boys golf. Welch shot a two-day total of 141 for an eight-shot victory in last week’s tournament in Kirtland.

“I’m not sure that any athlete in any sport at this school,” Portales boys golf coach Greg Poynor said, “that stepped up when the pressure came.”

The volleyball team, meanwhile, won its third state title in four seasons and improved on its runnerup finish in 2002.

“It’s not something that’s won in just a year,” volleyball coach Ruth Chavez said. “It takes good, strong people and it pays off for you (in the end).”

The basketball team, meanwhile, also won its third title in four seasons. The Lady Rams’ Class 3A title was its second straight.

“We had kids who did what wasn’t expected,” coach Brenda Gomez said, “and some kids that did what was expected, and it all came together.”

Richards was part of three state champions (two basketball, one volleyball) and was the pitcher for the softball team for its first four seasons as a varsity program.

“It’s kind of hard to describe (the feeling),” Richards said. “This is what I’ve wanted since junior high. I thought my athletic (career) was good, but just to have this makes it so much sweeter.”

Clabaugh was the starting quarterback for the football team for three seasons and pitched for four seasons with the Ram baseball team. Clabaugh played in state title games in 2002 (football) and 2004 (baseball), with the teams finishing in second place each time.

“It feels nice having this award, just to know that people have been watching what I’ve been doing,” said Clabaugh, who will play football next year for Angelo State University.