by Tom Utescher
For the second year in a row, sophomore Isabella DiLisio has advanced from the District 1 Class AAA Golf Championships to this week’s PIAA Eastern Regional Tournament, but once again, the Mount St. Joseph Academy team won’t be making the trip.
Third at the district championships last season and also at the PIAA state tournament, DiLisio captured the 2012 District 1 championship last week with a two-day score of 137. She shot a 66 on the first day of the tourney at Gilbertsville Golf Club (par 71), and a 71 the following day at nearby Turtle Creek Golf Club (par 72).
Mount St. Joe junior Alison Snakard also qualified for regionals with a two-day total of 161 (79/82) at the district event, but as in 2011, the Magic were edged out by Radnor High School in the single-day team competition at Gilbertsville. The Mount, which won state championships in 2006 and 2007, lost the 2012 district crown to the Red Raiders, 310-314. Only two strokes had separated the teams at Districts last fall, when Radnor went on to win the state title.
While with most PIAA sports the district championships are followed directly by the state tourney, golf adds the regional championships (eastern and western), and this can be frustrating because even in a district with a number of talented teams, only one can advance to the regional round and have a shot at States. Last fall, for example, Mount St. Joe arguably would’ve been much more competitive with Radnor at the state tournament than the actual runner-up, Central Dauphin High School, which finished 55 strokes behind the Red Raiders.
During the 2012 regular season, the Magic’s first loss came at the hands of Radnor, which won 207-218 on its home course at St. David’s Golf Club. The Mount’s other setback was much more surprising. The team had been cruising along towards yet another undefeated regular season in Catholic Academies competition, but when October arrived the unthinkable happened; the Magic lost an AACA match for the first time in Mountie memory.
In a meeting back in September hosted by Mount St. Joe at Militia Hill, Merion Mercy had given the Magic their most competitive league match in awhile, but the Golden Bears still lost by 19 strokes. In the October 1 rematch between the teams at McCall’s Golf and Country Club, host Merion pulled off a 211-212 upset of the Magic.
Although DiLisio gave her customary strong performance with a round of 36 and senior co-captain Nicole Mischler turned in one of her best efforts to card a 37, the visitors still came up one point short. The other MSJ senior captain, Jane Black, was unable to play in that contest.
The question now was, how would the Mounties respond when they faced Merion – and the rest of their league rivals – three days later at the league championships? The answer was, very well.
Turning in a team score of 201, Mount St. Joe was two-dozen strokes ahead of runner-up Villa Maria Academy, which shot a 225. Villa Joseph Marie came around in 229 strokes for third place, while Merion Mercy faded to fourth, with 233. Next were Gwynedd Mercy (241), Sacred Heart (290), and Nazareth Academy (308).
At par-35 Honeybrook Golf Club, MSJ junior Alison Snakard stepped up to lead the entire gathering with a 35, while DiLisio fired a 37, and Mischler produced a 42. A 43 from Black and a 44 from freshman Joanie Gannon completed the Magic’s impressive total. Even the scores which were discarded were solid; a 46 for sophomore Maggie Schoeller, a 49 for Bray, and a 51 for junior Emma Feeney.
Although the Magic weren’t able to take the team trophy at the District 1 championships, they joined Radnor and Council Rock North High School in sending two players on to the regionals. Snakard made the grade, as well as DiLisio, whose 137-stroke victory placed her ahead of reigning state champ Erica Herr, a senior from C.R. North, and 2011 PIAA runner-up Jackie Rogowicz, a sophomore from Pennsbury High School. Rogowicz recorded a score of 138 at Districts, and Herr had a 142.