Emily Nash is a high school student from Massachusetts who recently shot the lowest round in the Central Massachusetts Division III boys’ golf tournament at Blissful Meadows. However, she didn't get any trophy for her achievement for one very simple reason - she's a girl. Although she won the tournament, it was runner-up Nico Ciolino who was named the winner.
"It's a real injustice that she wasn’t announced as the winner," says Robert Dufresne, a volunteer official with the Massachusetts Golf Association. Nash was disappointed in not being recognized, saying, "I feel like I played on the same tees as the boys and I play with them all year so I feel like I should have gotten some sort of recognition."
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) states that "Girls playing on a fall boys’ team cannot be entered in the Boys Fall Individual Tournament. They can only play in the Boys Team Tournament. If qualified, they can play in the spring Girls Sectional and State Championships."
Nash's father, Robert, says, "[Emily] was a little disappointed that she didn’t know going into the tournament that it wouldn’t count, she was really excited she won districts, that would have been great for her resume, for her team."
Showing true sportsmanship, official winner Nico Ciolino offered his trophy to Nash. While she was highly appreciative of the gesture, she respectfully declined.
Kevin Riordan, the tournament director, says he informed Nash and her coaches about the rule, and then checked again when she came in first place. He has since pledged to buy Nash a first place trophy with his own money.
The MIAA issued the following statement:
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 MIAA is proud to have her and her teammates participate and represent the 230,000+ student-athletes in our schools.
The MIAA Golf Committee, with a membership of school representatives from each district in the state, has worked over the years to establish and manage both a boys and girls golf tournament. In the case of golf, these tournaments exist in two different seasons. The boys team and individual tournament has taken place in the fall and the girls team and individual tournament has taken place in the spring. During a sectional tournament round of golf, a golfer’s score is submitted for both an individual and team competition at each location.
To offer an opportunity for team play to all MIAA member school students, female golfers have been welcomed to participate on a boys team in the fall if their school did not sponsor a girls golf team in the spring. Approximately 26 female golfers participated in 2017 fall boys golf tournaments. This opportunity has been met positively by many studentathletes and school programs. Given this team opportunity during the fall tournament season, it has been clear to participants that female golfers playing in the fall boys team tournament are not participating in an individual capacity. The individual tournament opportunity for female golfers takes place during the spring season. As stated in the official MIAA 2017 Fall Golf format, “Girls playing on a fall boys team cannot be entered in the boys fall individual tournament. They can only play in the boys team tournament. If qualified, they can play in the spring Girls Sectional and State Championships.
We congratulate Lunenburg’s female golfer on her performance and wish her continued success as she participates once again in the MIAA Girls Individual Golf Tournament in the spring of 2018.
H/T: CBS Boston