by Tom Utescher
Mount St. Joseph Academy has won the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies golf championship every year since an official league tournament was established in 2003. The early signs point to that streak continuing in 2019.
The golf season gets underway quite early, and the Mount Magic already played matches against three league opponents last week. Both the Mount and league rival Gwynedd Mercy Academy host home matches at Blue Bell Country Club, and the Magic played a designated “home” match last Tuesday and an “away” contest at Blue Bell the following afternoon.
On Monday, Mount St. Joe opened the 2019 campaign on the road in Northeast Philadelphia, knocking off Nazareth Academy, 236-285. Playing host on Tuesday, the Magic dispatched Merion Mercy Academy, 235-315. On Wednesday, Gwynedd was the official home team at Blue Bell, and in a tri-match involving the Monarchs and Merion Mercy, the Magic turned in a score of 158, besting Gwynedd (191) and Merion (255).
Last fall, after the Mounties won their 16th consecutive AACA title, they captured the PIAA District 1 championship for the sixth year in a row and then went on to place third at the state tournament (which they last won in 2013).
Two members of that team have graduated, but the top two individual scorers from 2018 are both back this season. They are senior Olivia Wirsching, out of Ancillae Assumpta Academy in Wyncote, and Norwood-Fontbonne Academy graduate Clare Gimpel.
Wirshing is a team captain this season along with classmate Jill Baum, and the third senior on the squad is Sarah Spears. Gimpel’s 11th-grade classmates are Gwen DeLeo, Sofia Gambone, Reilly Kelly and Jennifer Seminack, and two of her former Norwood schoolmates are current Mount sophomores Nora Blatney and Caroline Gola.
Gola helped the Mount win the 2018 district title when she filled in for a senior who was forced to withdraw at the last moment. The other 10th graders on this year’s team are returning players Catherine Oh, Allie Petkunas and Lauren Quirk (an Ancillae alum), and another sophomore, Molly Amons, is new to the team this year.
There are three freshmen on the roster: Gabi Courtney, Emma McGrath and Grace O’Brien.
John Mischler is back for his fourth season as the Mount’s coach, and he is joined once again by Jules Quinones. They are the fathers of former MSJ players Nicole Mischler (’13) and Grace Quinones (’18).
The Magic will be supplementing their league schedule by playing in tournaments elsewhere in the region and in the state.