by Tom Utescher
A very talented golf team that appears in firm command of its own destiny, Mount St. Joseph Academy easily extended its long reign of the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies last week.
On Monday at the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Militia Hill course, the Magic wrapped up an undefeated regular season in the league, cruising past visiting Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, 210-312. The following day at Chester County’s Honeybrook Golf Club, Mount St. Joe won the Catholic Academies tournament for the 12th straight year, with an outstanding (five-player) score of 190 that put the Mounties 41 strokes ahead of the nearest competitor, runner-up Villa Maria.
The Magic have won the AACA tourney every year since it was established in 2003, and they’ve dominated regular-season play in the league even longer than that. They’re the defending state champion in Class AAA (large schools) and are led by the defending individual champion, Notre Dame signee Isabella DiLisio.
DiLisio and the other senior co-captain, Maggie Schoeller, were both in the first foursome in Monday’s regular-season finale at Militia Hill. Grouped with them were classmate Ann Schuck, who just joined the team this year, and a player from Sacred Heart, Katie Honebrink.
With birdies on the third and eighth holes, DiLisio came in one stroke over par with a 37, while a birdie on the third helped Schoeller finish with a 41. Schuck’s score of 54 would not be included in the Mount’s official team score, but it still put her a stroke ahead of the best figure produced by the visiting Lions, Honebrink’s 55. Sacred Heart, which has the smallest enrollment of any school in the AACA, had only one other player break 60. This was Celine Dugan, who shot a 57 in the second foursome.
This second quartet also produced a pair of 46’s from two Mount St. Joe juniors, Claire Brown (daughter of second-year head coach Michael Brown) and Joanie Gannon.
The total score for the home team would be complete when the third foursome reported in. Caitlin Mahon, a sophomore who has come on like gangbusters this year, fashioned the second-lowest score of the day with her round of 40.
The other members of the MSJ contingent, junior Mara Boston and sophomore Alex Mercader, shot a 56 and a 51, respectively, both scores that the visiting Lions would have welcomed.
The following day, the Mounties trekked out past Morgantown to the league tournament, and showed that their formula for success travels well. At par-35 Honeybrook, the Magic’s five scorers averaged a three-over 38.
The closely-spaced scores allowed the Mount to easily overcome second-place Villa Maria and number three Gwynedd Mercy (240), even though the best individual round belonged to Villa. Hurricanes senior Cara Basso won the tourney for the second year in a row, this time by nailing par with a score of 35.
Just one stroke back, 10th-grader Mahon shone brightly for the Mount with her 36, and DiLisio came in right after that with a 37. Single strokes continued to separate the MSJ scorers, who filled in their team total with a 38 from Schoeller, a 39 from Brown, and a score of 40 that could’ve come from either Gannon or fellow junior Megan Bray.
The other two entries for the defending champs weren’t far behind, Boston coming to the clubhouse with a 43, and freshman Maya Trujillo turning in a 46.
This display of team depth should send a shudder through opposing squads – the eight Mounties had averaged just under 40 strokes per player. Take 2013 state champ DiLisio out of the mix, and that figure merely inches up to a hair over 40.
The Magic can’t afford to let the celebratory mood linger for long, though. As the PIAA postseason action gets underway, just one “off” day could mean a very disappointing end to the 2014 campaign. This week the area’s best will meet at the District 1 championships, and only one team will move on to the PIAA Eastern Regionals.