Pennsylvania high school rule forces sister act to split and take on the boys

Pennsylvania high school rule forces sister act to split and take on the boys

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Pennsylvania high school rule forces sister act to split and take on the boys

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Remmey and Delaney Lohr are fixtures in the starting lineup of the boys golf team at Carmichaels High School in western Pennsylvania. But when it comes time for postseason play – a chance at a state title – only one of the sisters can compete against the girls.

That’s because of a longstanding rule which stipulates that schools without a team can only send one individual to the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League championship (WPIAL).

Because Delaney is a senior and the sisters’ scores are so close, the coach and family decided that she should have the opportunity to compete against the girls. Remmey, a 16-year-old junior, would take on the boys.

And boy, did she deliver.

First, Remmey had to beat the target score of 81 to make it out of a qualifier at Nemacolin Country Club. Playing from a distance of 85 percent of what the boys play, Remmey shot 78 to earn medalist honors and become the first female to advance to the WPIAL boys individual finals.

Remmey Lohr (left) and Delaney Lohr are part of the boys golf team at Carmichaels High School in western Pennsylvania. The school doesn’t have enough girls to field a team. Courtesy: Dave Briggs

“When I advanced, they were really nice about me being a girl,” said Remmey of her playing partners. “I told them why I was there.”

At the WPIAL championship at Allegheny Country Club, Remmey shot 81 to advance to the PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) Class AA western regional boys qualifier.

Then she really turned up the heat, earning a silver medal at Tom’s Run Golf Course in Blairsville after an even-par 72. That gutsy performance sent her to the PIAA state finals.

Remmey’s father, Jason, was so proud he could bust.

“She’s the most mentally tough person I’ve ever met,” he said.

The farther she advanced, the more folks started to wonder why a girl was competing against the boys. Remmey knew some weren’t happy about it, but said she didn’t let it bother her because she was there for reasons beyond her control.

“I learned that I can compete with the boys,” she said. “Not because I want to prove a point, but because I had to and that made me stronger for when I get to play with the girls again.”

At the state championship on Oct. 21-22, Remmey shot 85-85 and tied for 30th.

With the Lohr sisters in the lineup, Carmichaels has won 30 consecutive sectional matches. Courtesy: Carl Wheeler

Now she’s got her mind set on landing the Donkey role in the musical “Shrek” at Carmichaels, where there are about 75 students in Remmey’s class. The Lohr sisters also are cheerleaders who perform in the band – Remmey plays the trombone and Delaney plays the drums. Remmey called to talk about golf after dance class.

“I’m so tired,” said Jason with a laugh, of trying to keep up with it all.

Rachel Rohanna, a 2009 Waynesburg (Pa.) High graduate, and her sister Emily faced the same problem when they were in school. When Rachel was a senior, Emily, a freshman, had to play against the boys.

Rachel, now a Symetra Tour winner who is competing at LPGA Q-Series this week, said her mom fought to change the rule a decade ago. Two years ago, Rachel sent emails making the case to allow the best female golfers to compete in the state championship. She got nowhere.

“It’s just mind-blowing to me,” said Rachel. “I feel like this is stuck in 1970 or something.”

Jason Lohr made phone calls to the WPIAL, even tried to hire a lawyer, but never made any progress.

“Most people were just confused,” said head coach Dave Briggs of the reactions they received as Remmey advanced.

Tim O’Malley, executive director of the WPIAL, said the rule is applicable for all individual sports, male or female, and has been around for decades.

“We’re attempting to encourage people to create a team,” said O’Malley.

The rule is not being reviewed.

 

 

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