Lunenburg (Mass.) High junior Emily Nash shot the lowest score – a 75 – in the Central Mass. Division 3 boys’ golf tournament at Blissful Meadows.
She beat Nico Ciolino of AMSA by four shots Tuesday, but she wasn’t awarded the first-place trophy, and was not invited to next week’s state tournament because of some old-school rules.
According the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association: “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 was playing with the boys because there is no girls team at her school. Her all-time best score is a 72.
“It’s a real injustice that she wasn’t announced as the winner,” Robert Dufresne, a volunteer rules official with the Mass. Golf Association, told the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, Mass.
Central Mass. Division 3 boys’ golf tournament director Kevin Riordan said he made Nash and her coach aware of the rule that would not allow her to receive individual accolades for her finish before the tournament began. And when she finished first, Riordan said he double-checked with the MIAA assistant director and golf liaison.
″(Emily) is the story of the day,” Riordan told the T&G.
Nash, 16, told Boston’s WCVB-TV “It’s fun with the boys because they hit it so far past me, and I really have to focus on my short game,” she said.
Nash countered Riordan’s account by telling WCVB she “wasn’t aware that if I won I wouldn’t get the title or the trophy.”
There is a positive side to this story. For one, Riordan said he plans to personally purchase a first-place trophy for Nash.
But even more importantly Ciolino, who was awarded the first-place trophy, offered it to Nash. She opted not to accept it.
“It was a classy act,” Riordan said.