Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: MIAA takes step in right direction with new golf rule

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Five letters that you see all over social media are ICYMI — In Case You Missed It.

Here now, today's chapter of ICYMI.

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's Board of Directors voted to allow girls playing golf on boys teams during the fall season to be eligible to compete for individual titles at sectional tournaments.

That means if Wahconah golfer Emily Figiela can shoot the best round at the Ludlow Country Club next month, she would be medalist and individual champion. The MIAA vote also allows girls to continue to play in the spring, when the girls' teams play.

"There will be a dramatic change to Rule 43," MIAA associate director Sherry Bryant told the Boston Globe. "A total rewrite will be done [by the Blue Ribbon Committee], but this was something we could address right now."

"I thought she won last year," Lenox coach Dick Salinetti said with a laugh, when I asked him about it. "Oh good, that's good to hear."

You might recall that last year, Lunenberg's Emily Nash shot a 3-over-par 75 at Blissful Meadows Golf Club in Uxbridge, beating Nico Ciolino of the Advanced Math and Science Academy by four strokes. But Ciolino was given the medalist trophy because last year, girls playing golf in the fall were not eligible to win individual crowns at sectional or state tournaments.

The decision raised the hackles of golfers, both male and female, all the way up to pros on the PGA and LPGA tours. So Wednesday's decision rights what had been a wrong.

"I think it's the way it should be," Hoosac Valley coach Jason Sniezek said, when we discussed the issue at Thursday's Hoosac-Lenox golf match at Cranwell.

"I felt bad for her last year. She had to play from the whites just like the boys had to," he said. "She deserved it. Even though they had their own [girls' tournament], if she's part of a boys' team and they don't have a separate girls team, I think she should be able to win."

It isn't easy to right every wrong. This time, the MIAA did the right thing.

———

It turned out to be a very good weekend for Williams College.

On Saturday, the Williams football team knocked off defending NESCAC champion Trinity 21-16 in a game for the ages.

But it was on Friday night when Williams scored some serious brownie points.

Mount Greylock's home game with Lee, which had been originally scheduled to be played on the Greylock campus in Williamstown, ended up being played under the lights at Farley-Lamb Field.

The Lee Football Twitter feed first tweeted out at 2 p.m. Friday that, because of field conditions at Mount Greylock, the game was going to be played in Lee. An hour later, the game was shifted back to Williamstown.

"[Mount Greylock athletic director] Lindsey Von Holtz called and said ... could we host Greylock and Lee because their field was unplayable," Gary Guerin, Williams' associate athletic director for operations said to me in the press box at Farley-Lamb Field prior to Saturday's Williams-Trinity football game.

"We checked with all the appropriate people," he said, "and we were able to put it together to host the game last night."

Sure, Williams is a Division III program, but it is Berkshire County's Division III football program. That should not be forgotten.

MCLA also has offered up its soccer/lacrosse facility to the high schools and youth teams, and deserves just as much credit.

Saturday afternoon, there were Dalton youth football players on the field while the Ephs warmed up. A number of the Dalton players lined up to give high fives to Williams players going into the locker room prior to the kickoff. At the previous week's home opener against Colby, there were youth football players from Adams and North Adams doing the same thing.

I know when the Williams Sideline Quarterback Club invites high school football players from Berkshire County to attend one of the club's luncheons, Williams coach Mark Raymond tells them that he is a resource for them when it comes to college recruitment. Aaron Kelton, Mike Whalen and Dick Farley before him all said the same thing, and kids from Berkshire County — who didn't even go to Williams — took them up on the offers.

"It was a win-win for everybody," Guerin said of hosting Friday's game at the last minute. "It's good for the town, it's good for the kids — obviously a home game for Mount Greylock, and it would be a shame to put them on the road. It was a good thing for us that we were able to do it.

"We were happy to have them here."

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.


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