The MIAA Golf Committee, with a membership of school representatives from each district in the state, has worked over the years to establish and manage both a boys and girls golf tournament.
The 16-year-old had the best score by four strokes, yet she wasn't allowed first prize or the chance to advance to the state tournament individually.
According to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, girls can play in the boys' golf tournament as part of a team, but they aren't allowed to be entered as individuals.
Lunenburg High doesn't have enough girls to fill the golf team in the fall, so Emily plays on the boys varsity.
The MIAA Boys' Golf Tournament is held in the American autumn while the MIAA Girls' Golf Tournament is staged in the spring.
The rules also robbed Nash, who shot 37-38 from the same tees, of her own individual state berth.
Kevin Riordan, director for the Central Mass. Division 3 boys" golf tournament, called Ciolino's gesture a "classy act' and said he plans to personally purchase a first-place trophy for Emily. And when she finished first, Riordan said he double-checked with MIAA assistant director and golf liaison, Ann Trytko.
The story has received widespread attention from mainstream media outlets in the USA including the Boston Globe, while Global Golf Post and PGA.com have also jumped on the story. They can only play in the boys team tournament. And for those wondering, yes, Nash did play from the same tees as the boys, which makes this situation all the more perplexing. Not only did she compete, she dominated the field, posting a three-over score that was four shots better than anyone else in the competition.
In typical golf fashion, after the round Nash was most focused on her own score, taking pride in a handful of hard shots she sunk in wild and windy conditions. In the case of golf, these tournaments exist in two different seasons. Given this team opportunity during the fall tournament season, it has been clear to participants that female golfers playing in the fall boys team tournament are not participating in an individual capacity. "I don't think people expected this to happen, so they didn't really know how to react to it". So I was definitely disappointed, but I understand that there are rules in place.
But it might be time for the MIAA to clarify its rulebook. "In a ideal world, I'd like this rule to change", Nash told the Boston Herald.
However, Nash wasn't the only one who was disappointed.