by Tom Utescher
This year’s Mount St. Joseph Academy golfers appear ready to uphold the high standards of one of the school’s most successful athletic franchises. The Magic won their third state team championship in 2013, and were a close runner-up last fall, losing to western Pennsylvania’s Central Valley High School by just four strokes.
Mount St. Joseph had captured the 2014 District 1 title and, as usual, had dominated its rivals from the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies. The Mounties have won the AACA tournament every year since the event was launched in 2003.
The 2015 Magic will take to the links without their ace of the past four seasons, Isabella DiLisio. The winner of several District 1 titles, the 2013 PIAA state individual championship, and the 2014 Pennsylvania Amateur championship, DiLisio has moved on to play for Notre Dame.
Although the Mount doesn’t have another individual of that caliber, and also lost another state tourney player in Maggie Schoeller, the team may have even more depth this year than in 2014. While most teams field one or two standouts and then see their scores balloon after that, the Magic have six or seven players capable of producing fairly tightly-bunched, quality scores. If just half of them come through on a given day, the Mounties will top most opponents.
The team co-captains for 2015 are Megan Bray, who played in the last two PIAA state tournaments, and fellow senior Claire Brown, who is the daughter of third-year MSJ head coach Michael Brown. Another seasoned senior is Joanie Gannon, who, like Bray, was a state tourney participant as a sophomore and a junior. All three players had successful summers on the Philadelphia PGA juniors circuit.
Added depth and experience comes from the other two 12th-graders, Mara Boston and Laura Park. Heading the junior class contingent is long-driving Caitlin Mahon, who showed marked improvement last season and will be a key performer in the upcoming campaign. Alex Mercader and Callie Shinkle are the other juniors on the roster.
As a freshman last fall, Maya Trujillo came over to the Mount from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and immediately saw varsity playing time. Her sophomore classmates on the squad this year are Ciara Morrissey and Olivia Brogan, and the two freshman team members are Brianna Mahon (Caitlin’s sister) and Lia Priolo.
Coach Brown is back for his third season, having guided the Mount to the state tourney in each of his first two campaigns. The highlight of the opening week of the pre-season was a trip out to a multi-team tournament in Donegal, Pa., where the opposition was to include players from reigning state team champ Central Valley.