by Tom Utescher
Mount St. Joseph Academy’s golf team began to put the finishing touches on the 2015 regular season last week. In a PIAA qualifying event on Monday, the Magic had five players earn a spot in the District 1 individual tournament, and on Wednesday the team bid a ceremonial farewell to the Class of 2016 on Senior Day at Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Militia Hill course.
This year’s graduating class of five, consisting of co-captains Megan Bray and Claire Brown along with Mara Boston, Joanie Gannon, and Laura Park, has been together on the fairways and greens since they first tried out for the team as incoming freshmen. In their first three seasons they helped the Magic extend their long string of championships within the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies. The team has won the last two PIAA District 1 Class AAA team championships, going on to win the state title in 2013 and then finish as runner-up last fall.
Last Wednesday, this year’s seniors played one of their last Catholic Academies matches, defeating visiting Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, 228-327. This raised their league record to 10-0 (12-0 overall) with just two matches remaining against teams that they’d already beaten in the first round of AACA bouts.
Against Sacred Heart, there were seven Mount players who shot individual scores under 50 on the par-36 front nine of the spacious Militia Hill course. Captains Brown and Bray led the pack with a 43 and a 44 respectively, with classmates Park and Gannon contributing a 47 and a 48. The fifth scorer for the Magic was freshman Brianna Mahon, who fired a 46. Boston and sophomore Maya Trujillo both came in with 49’s. The eighth MSJ player, junior Callie Shinkle, had a score of 58, but that was only one stroke over the best round produced by Sacred Heart, Caroline Wassin’s 57.
One of the Mount’s top players throughout the season, junior Caitlin Mahon (Brianna’s sister), was able to take the day off. The Mount has impressive depth as a squad this year. In previous seasons, the top scores would almost always come from Isabella DiLisio, the 2013 state individual champion who is already making an impact this fall as a freshman on the team at Notre Dame.
This fall, there are a number of players who can step up on a given day and set the pace for the Magic. At last week’s 18-hole qualifier for the District tournament, it was Gannon, producing by far the best round with a 73 at par-70 Spring Hollow Golf Club near Royersford.
The Catholic Academies are allowed seven spots in the District tourney for the larger Class AAA schools such as the Mount, Merion Mercy, and Villa Maria, and another seven for lower-enrollment Class AA teams such as Gwynedd Mercy, Nazareth Academy, and Villa Joseph Marie.
The Magic snapped up five of the AAA bids, as Gannon was joined by Brown and junior Alex Mercader, with scores of 83, Bray, with an 84, and Boston, with an 87. One player each from Villa and Merion also made the cut. In Class AA, Gwynedd got four players into Districts: Ga Lim Kim (84), Shannon Scott (87), Julia Loftus (93), and Lindsey Fogarasi.