A competition this week chose the top Division 3 golfer, not male or female, but the best Division 3 golfer overall in central Massachusetts, and her name is Emily Nash. But Emily Nash won’t have the chance to go on to the state championship and perhaps prove she is the best high school golfer in Massachusetts because she is a girl. Emily Nash was allowed to play with the boys and against the boys (on the same tee), as long as she didn’t win. But she did. Emily Nash won the MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) tournament by four strokes, but the first place trophy and designation went to someone else, the second place boy.
The MIAA rule states that the tournament must be won by a boy, and they are standing by it. The MIAA Associate Director Richard Pearson released a statement on the unusual outcome of the tournament without mentioning Emily Nash by name.
“The MIAA and its member schools congratulate all golfers on their performance at the recent fall sectional team golf tournament. In particular, the skill of the female golfer from Lunenburg was on display as she represented her personal ability and effort on behalf of the Lunenburg High School Boys Golf Team.”
The PGA is sharing their opinion that sadly the rules are the rules “even when they stink.” This is the way the PGA is describing the ruling by the MIAA, which robbed Lunenburg High School junior Emily Nash of her first place trophy, and the right to go on to the state championship.
“Nash, who has been the best player for the Lunenburg boys’ team since she arrived in eighth grade, fired an impressive 3-over 75 at Blissful Meadows, which should have been good for a four-stroke victory over runner-up Nico Ciolino of AMSA Charter School.”
The PGA went on to state that the rule that allows Emily Nash to play, but not to win is severely out of date, saying that “it’s 2017, not 1917.”
Dave Kocur, the Pro Shop Manager at the course that hosted the tournament, Blissful Meadows, in Uxbridge, Massachusetts believes that the rule is out of date and that Emily Nash was the clear winner.
“It was complete garbage. She played the same tees, played under the same conditions and everything.”
But Dave Kocur suggested that Emily Nash wasn’t the only golfer dealt a harsh blow at the end of the tournament. Second place golfer Nico Ciolino will always feel that he won the MIAA tournament with an asterisk next to his name. But Kocur explained that Ciolino was still a good sport.
“He felt so bad about it that he actually tried to give the trophy to Nash. That showed a lot of class. But, she didn’t want to take it because she was too disappointed.”
But some are saying that it takes an instance where a girl proves that she can triumph over the boys to prove that the rule is absurd, but the MIAA had that wake-up call nine years ago when Shrewsbury High’s Brittany Altomare was in the same position as Emily Nash. Altomare also rightfully won the MIAA tournament, playing from the men’s tee, but was not allowed to go forward and play in the state championship. Altomare is now playing on the LPGA Tour.
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Tournament director Kevin Riordan said that Emily Nash and her coach were aware of the rule before the tournament began. Riordan says he plans to personally purchase a trophy for Emily Nash.
″[Emily] is the story of the day.”
Do you think the MIAA needs to change the ruling so that the best golfer goes on to win the state championship in Massachusetts? Do you think if Emily Nash wins next year as a senior she should be able to play in the championship?
[Featured Image by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images]