by Tom Utescher
Long in the planning stages, a fundraiser presented by the golf team at Mount St. Joseph Academy came to fruition in a very timely manner last Friday at the St. Martin’s Course of the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Called Par Is Your Partner For Suicide Prevention and benefitting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the event occurred just a few days after beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams took his own life.
The effort was the brainchild of Mount junior Claire Brown, whose father, Mike, is going into his second season as the Magic’s head coach. Various Mount St. Joe athletic teams have been involved in charitable ventures of many kinds over the years, one of them organized by golf team captain Nicole Mischler (’13) several years ago.
“I thought it was a great idea, and I just wanted to do something to help with this cause because it’s something that’s really close to me,” Claire Brown said.
The MSJ junior revealed that when she was in seventh grade, the father of her best friend committed suicide, and she witnessed the severe and far-reaching effects of the tragedy.
“There are so many good causes out there, but this is something that touched me personally, and it’s an area that doesn’t receive a great deal of attention in my opinion,” she said. “One thing I discovered when I was researching the subject is that it’s a growing problem, which is sad because there are a lot of ways that people can get help.”
In addition to the Mount girls, most of the La Salle High School golf team took part in last Friday’s outing, along with some players from Gwynedd Mercy Academy and Germantown Academy. Coach Mike Brown reported that $7000 was raised for the AFSP.
“I thought people would have fun playing and hanging out with each other, and also knowing that it was for a great cause,” his daughter explained. “I starting thinking seriously about it at the beginning of this year, and things really went into motion during the spring.”
The Browns are members at Philadelphia Cricket, and some of the golf professionals there eagerly pitched in to assist with her project.
“The Cricket Club really helped to make this happen, and I’m very grateful to them for that,” Brown said.
At Mount St. Joe, the junior enjoys her English courses in particular, and has become interested in art classes as well.
“I don’t know that I’ll pursue a career related to the field of suicide prevention,” she said, “but I know that it’s something that I’ll always want to be a part of.”
In addition to being a big-hearted group of girls, the members of the Magic golf team excel at their sport. Last fall, they won the large-school PIAA state team championship (the school’s third such title), and Isabella DiLisio won the District 1 title and the individual state championship. Now entering her senior year, DiLisio has made a verbal commitment to play for the University of Notre Dame.
The Mounties have won the Catholic Academies tournament every year since it came into existence in 2003. They captured the 2013 state team title by 44 strokes over West Region champion Penn Trafford with a five-player contingent consisting of DiLisio, Alison Snakard, Maggie Schoeller, Megan Bray, and Joanie Gannon.
Only Snakard graduated from that quintet, preceding DiLisio to Notre Dame (the other seniors on the team were Emma Feeney and Julia Shinkle).
DiLisio and Schoeller are the senior co-captains for the 2014 squad, while Bray and Gannon are both juniors. In addition to Brown, the other 11th-graders on the team are Mara Boston and Laura Park. There are four sophomores, Caitlyn Bell, Caitlin Mahon, Alex Mercader, and Alex Natale, and a promising newcomer is freshman Maya Trujillo, a former student at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.
The day before their fundraiser, the Mounties launched their 2014 campaign in a three-way match hosted by Hatboro Horsham High School at Talamore Country Club. The Magic were missing DiLisio, who was busy winning the Pennsylvania State Women’s Golf Association’s Amateur Championship tournament in Lancaster County.
Nevertheless, the Magic were able to prevail in their season debut, recording an official four-player score of 171 on the par-35 front nine at Talamore. Host Hatboro Horsham scored a 185, and a league rival of the Mount’s, Gwynedd Mercy, had a tally of 210.
MSJ’s Schoeller conquered the course to post a two-over 37, and the other official scorers were Mahon, with a 42, and Gannon and Mercader, each with a round of 46. Brown brought in a score of 49, with Boston one stroke behind.
“Izzy has had a great summer, and everyone on the team has improved since last year,” Claire Brown remarked. “I think we’ll have another good season.”