By Marisela Rechner ‘19
Ridley High School offers athletics for boys and girls. However, one team they do not have for girls is golf. That has not stopped senior Hailee Mayer and sophomore Emma Layden from becoming the first two girls on the boys’ golf team in three years.
This fall Mayer and Layden made the same decision as Nicole DiNardo did several years ago. Emma and Hailee are a part of the thirteen player team.
The girls had similar reasons as to why they wanted to join the team.
“I don’t play a fall sport and I thought golf would be a fun way to occupy my time. It seemed like a good time,” said Emma. Hailee offered the same reason, but added: “Golf interested me because many connections can be formed later on in life on a golf course.” Both girls had little to no experience with the sport before stepping onto the green this past August.
In 2013, the boys welcomed Nicole DiNardo onto the team. DiNardo graduated in 2014 and spent three years on the school’s soccer team. She joined the golf team her senior year too.
Mr. Lubas, coach and guidance counselor, is happy to have the girls on the golf team. “Emma and Hailee are all around great kids and they’re doing a good job of integrating themselves socially and athletically on the team.”
Being a part of a team is about counting on and being comfortable with teammates, and for Hailee and Emma, they have fit in exceptionally well.
“Our boys are great. All the team members are great. Everyone’s really friendly and accepting,” says Mr. Lubas.
Although girls on a boy’s team is exciting, so is establishing a girls’ golf team. Mrs. Snow, assistant athletic director, is “very excited to have two girls on the team.” Mr. Lubas agrees, but says, “I would love for there to be a girls’ team if we had enough interest.”
There are other teams in the area with girl players. Conestoga, Chichester, Radnor, Penncrest, and Strath Haven all have at least one girl, with Chichester having one of the top girls in the area. Last year Radnor’s girls’ team won a state title.
Ladies play off of shorter tees. Also, there are occasions when one female is partnered with another male teammate, but has to play against two other males from the opposing team. The three males hit off of the men’s tees (traditionally longer distances than the ladies tees), while the female hits off of the ladies tees.
Emma and Hailee both fit in well with the team and enjoy being the only girls. “It’s a great opportunity to be on a co-ed team, since I’m used to only playing with girls on my basketball team,” says Layden. Hailee agrees, “I get along well with the guys and they treat Emma and I like we’re one of them. It’s great.”
Overall, it has been a positive experience for the girls and team. The team has had a great season with their games and also a great time with one another. Hopefully Emma and Hailee’s competitive spirit will inspire more actions of the same kind, and maybe one day lead to a team of their own.