16-year-old Emily Nash is a high school golfer with a promising future.
Currently living in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, Nash has been playing on the boys golf team at her school for three years, since there is no girls team.
It's not unheard of for girls to compete on a boys team, especially when their skills are matched and there's no other option for them. Nash and her team participated in the Central Massachusetts Division 3 boys' golf tournament at Blissful Meadows, and Nash ended up crushing it.
She shot a 3-over 75, which gave her first place with a four-stroke lead over the next closest opponent. She should have walked home with the trophy and the title, but instead she left empty-handed, embarrassed, and a national news story.
Nash competed through the entire tournament playing off the same tees as the boys, but the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) refused to give her the title and trophy she earned.
The MIAA has a rule which states: "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."
This means her score counted towards the overall team score, but not her individual score.
According to Kevin Riordan, Central Mass. Division 3 boys' golf tournament director, Nash and her coach were reminded of the rules before her round began. Nash knew she wouldn't be allowed to advance, but she didn't think it would mean she didn't get the title or trophy.
“I was definitely disappointed, but I understand that there are rules in place,” Nash said. “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.”
Dave Kocur, who works at the course where the tournament took place, said the runner-up was awarded the trophy and title, but even he knew it was wrong.
"He felt so bad about it that he actually tried to give the trophy to Nash," Kocur said. "That showed a lot of class. But, she didn't want to take it because she was too disappointed."
Riordan says that he personally doesn't agree with the rule, and will be using his own money to purchase a first place trophy for Nash.
"We don't make the rules, we just enforce them," Riordan said. "Emily is the story of the day."
Do you think Emily should be awarded the title and trophy? Or was she aware of the consequences when she entered the tournament? Let us know!