Emily Nash of Lunenburg High in Massachusetts recently won the Central Massachusetts Division 3 boys golf tournament at Blissful Meadows with a 75, besting the runner up by four strokes. However, she was not declared the winner of the event or allowed to move on to the state tournament.
Instead, Nico Ciolino was declared the winner with a 7-over 79. Here's the Telegram.
According to MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) rules, "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."
So Nash's score on Tuesday only counted toward her team's total. The Blue Knights did not qualify for the state tournament. Central Mass. Division 3 boys' golf tournament director Kevin Riordan said he made Nash and her coach aware of the rule before the tournament began. And when she finished first, Riordan said he double-checked with MIAA assistant director and golf liaison, Ann Trytko.
So her score counted for her team but not for herself? That seems like ... a bit of a conflict. Shouldn't it be all one way or the other? Nash told the Telegram that she knew before the tournament started that she would not move on to state regardless, but she thought she would be allowed to win the actual event as an individual.
"So I was definitely disappointed, but I understand that there are rules in place," she told the Telegram. "I don't think people expected for this to happen, so they didn't really know how to react to it. None of us are mad at the MIAA or anything like that, but I was definitely a little bit disappointed."
It's an odd thing to be allowed to compete for a boys team as a girl but not to be allowed to place in the tournament itself or move on as an individual. Regardless, it sounds like Nash and those around here (including the boys at the tournament) handled it with class.
But it might be time for the MIAA to clarify its rulebook.