by Tom Utescher
The PIAA golf schedule is so front-loaded that schools such as Mount St. Joseph Academy are already nearing the end of their league season, and as the Magic race down the home stretch, they appear to be well on their way towards a ninth official Athletic Association of Catholic Academies championship.
The outcome will be decided at the AACA tournament early next month, but the Mounties have already played each of their league rivals at least once, and in their closest match the margin of victory was 19 strokes (223-242 against Merion Mercy Academy). The Magic have won the tournament every year since it was introduced in 2003, and they were undefeated against AACA opponents for a number of years prior to that.
The Mounties made an appearance last Wednesday on their traditional home course at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club (they had hosted the Merion Mercy match at Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Militia Hills course). With the top five rounds for each team figuring into the team scoring in a standard nine-hole match, Mount St. Joe dispatched visiting Nazareth Academy, 236-302.
The victory ran the Magic’s record to 9-0 within the league, and 10-1 overall. The squad’s only setback this season was an 11-stroke loss (207-218) to defending PIAA District 1 champion Radnor High School, in an August 28 meeting on the Red Raider’s home course at St. David’s Golf Club. Radnor was the state runner-up in 2011.
The Mounties knew they didn’t have to drive themselves hard last Wednesday; they’d already scored a decisive victory over Nazareth on the Pandas’ home course three weeks earlier. In fact, senior co-captain Nicole Mischler was given the day off, and looked on from the gallery.
The other senior captain, Jane Black, was paired up with the team’s top player, sophomore Isabella DiLisio, in the first foursome to hit the starting tee. DiLisio has shot even par at Whitemarsh this season, and in Wednesday’s relaxed outing she carded a two-over 38, with seven pars. Black came in with a 49 to earn a spot among the five official scorers.
The rest of Mount St. Joe’s team tally was made up of one score from each of the other three foursomes. Freshman Joanie Gannon came in with a 48, and juniors Alison Snakard and Julia Shinkle recorded a 50 and a 51, respectively.
The other designated participants for the Magic were senior Margaret Mary Rilling, sophomore Maggie Schoeller, and freshman Megan Bray.
At a qualifier to place players in the AACA tournament, the Mount had seven players advance to perform at the October 3 event. They were, in scoring order, DiLisio, Mischler, Black, Snakard, Schoeller, Bray, and Gannon.
Last fall, the Magic finished their run at the District 1 tournament, where they finished two strokes behind Radnor in the team competition. Placing third overall, DiLisio was able to advance on an individual basis, and captured third place at the state championships, as well.