A 16-year-old won a boys' high school golf tournament in central Massachusetts with a commanding four-stroke lead, but the teen didn't advance to the state championships or, in fact, take home the first-place trophy. That's because while Lunenburg High School junior Emily Nash was allowed to play in the regional boys' team tournament Tuesday—where her team failed to make the cut for the state team tournament—as a female, she is barred from competing with boys as an individual under Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules, per the Guardian. The Worcester Telegram explains her high school has no girls' team, so MIAA rules let her play on the fall boys' team, but only as a member of the team, not as an individual.
Nash knew in advance that she couldn't advance as an individual, but was "disappointed" to later learn "I wouldn't be able to get the title or the trophy," she tells the Telegram. It seems so were most others on the course. "It's a real injustice," a rules official who was present at the tourney tells the Telegram. The male runner-up, who was given the first-place trophy, even offered it to Nash. She refused to take it, however. "I understand that there are rules in place," she says. Even so, the tournament director says he plans to get another trophy made especially for Nash, who can play in the girls state championships next spring. In the meantime, "the MIAA needs to get with the times," TJ Auclair writes at PGA.com. If allowed to compete, Nash "should be allowed any and all of the same perks for an exceptional performance as the boys," he writes.