by Tom Utescher
For the fifth year in a row, the Mount St. Joseph Academy golf team will be heading to the PIAA State tournament as the District 1 team champion in the Class AAA (large school) grouping.
With a team score of 248, the Magic topped Downingtown East High School (257) and Downingtown West (258) to become the lone school in the district to send a team to the state championships in York on October 25.
Mount St. Joe has won the state team championship three times, most recently in 2013, when Isabella DiLisio (Notre Dame ’19) also became the individual champ.
Two weeks ago, the Mount won its 15th consecutive Athletic Association of Catholic Academies championship at the annual league tournament (the Magic have won every year since the tourney was established in 2003). As for many years now, the AACA gathering took place at Honeybrook Golf Club, located near Morgantown in Chester County.
Like all of the regular-season matches, this was a nine-hole event, and sophomore Olivia Wirsching led Mount St. Joe with a round of 40. She would be just the first of the eight Mounties participating to finish with scores in the 40’s.
Senior Maya Trujillo, junior Brianna Mahon and freshman Clare Gimpel each produced a score of 42, and senior Ciara Morrissey shot a 45. Next came junior Lia Priolo, with a 46, and seniors Grace Quinnones and Olivia Brogan carded a 47 and a 48, respectively. The Magic had made a clean sweep through all of their regular-season head-to-head matches in the league, and outside of the AACA they defeated Downingtown East and won the Spring-Ford High School Golf Classic.
From the league championships, it was on to the District 1 tournament, which began a day later than scheduled due to persistent rain on Monday, October 9. Each girls’ team could enter up to five golfers, with the top three individual rounds making up the official team score. The team title would be decided in a single round of 18 holes at Gilbertsville Golf Club on October 10.
This would also serve as the first of two rounds in the District 1 individual tournament, in which schools could enter more than five players. Gimpel, a Norwood Fontbonne Academy graduate, came in with an 80 at par-73 Gilbertsville, and Wirsching was just one stroke behind. With a round of 87, Mahon completed the Magic’s official team score of 248.
Priolo put up a score of 91, and the Mount had Brogan at 92, Trujillo at 93 and Quinones at 99.
The top two Mounties had played well enough to join the group of 18 golfers to make it through to the second round of individual competition. Both players turned in a score of 81 on day two, when the action took place at Turtle Creek Golf Course. This gave Wirsching a final score of 162 while Gimpel, with a 161, found herself in a tie for the last of the eight qualifying spots for the PIAA Individual Regional Tournament.
She took her clubs back over to the 10th tee for a playoff with another freshman, Jade Gu of Pennsbury High School. After three strokes, the Mount player was on the green, but her rival wasn’t.
Gimpel dropped in a four-foot putt for par, winning the tiebreaker over Gu, who needed an additional stroke to finish.