A girl who shot the best score at a Massachusetts high school golf tournament on Tuesday was not declared the winner. It was due to something simple: She's a girl.
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported the unfortunate situation for Lunenburg High School junior Emily Nash, who -- at least, on the leader board -- won the Central Mass. Division 3 boys' golf tournament by four shots with a 3-over-par 75 at Blissful Meadows Golf Club in Uxbridge. So what was the problem? According to Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules, girls who play on fall boys' sports teams aren't eligible to compete in individual championships. This meant that while Nash's score counted toward her team's total, it didn't count for the individual competition. Odd.
Emily only realized this after she achieved the best score – 3-over-par – but was denied the title. The trophy was instead awarded to Nico Ciolino of AMSA Charter School, who finished four strokes behind Emily.
Ciolino, however, didn’t want the trophy – instead, he offered it to Emily.
“He came over and said he didn’t win the tournament, that I did,” she told WPBF. “It was really nice of him and respectful.”
“He felt so bad about it that he actually tried to give the trophy to Nash,” Pro Shop Manager Dave Kocur told PGA.com. “That showed a lot of class.”
While Emily was touched by the gesture, she politely declined.
Since news of Emily’s score has been publicized, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has received backlash for their enforcement of the dated rule. The code has been called especially “unfair” due to how Lunenburg High School does not have a girl’s team for Emily to play on. Additionally, Emily played on all the same tees as the boys.
Golf tournament director Kevin Riordan, who was also taken aback by the controversial event, said that he doesn’t make the rules – he only has to enforce them. But that reportedly won’t stop him from using his own money to buy Emily a first place trophy of her own to keep until the rules are changed.
Myers, Alex. “Girl Dominates Boys in High School Golf Tournament, but Isn't Declared the Winner (Huh?).” Golf Digest, 25 Oct. 2017,