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Officials want to keep one of Idaho’s top female golfers off boys’ team after she helps them win state title

Jonathan Wall
Prep Rally

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Sierra Harr / Associated Press

As far as ridiculous rules go, the one that's currently being discussed in an effort to keep 16-year-old golf sensation Sierra Harr from playing on the Castleford (Idaho) High boys' golf team could be one of the worst yet.

Harr, who's currently the third-ranked female golfer in her age group in the state, started her freshman year at Castleford playing on the girls' golf team, winning the 2A state title two years ago.

It was a dream start for the rising high school golf star. But the following year when she showed up for school, she was told the girls' team no longer had enough players to field a team.

As the Associated Press reported, Harr, who carries a 2.2. handicap, was given the option to compete as an individual in tournaments. But instead of opting to play as an individual or leave the school to find another girls' golf team, Harr decided she'd rather play with the boys' team in an effort to maintain the team aspect of high school golf, and compete against some of the best players in the state.

The Idaho High School Activities Association granted her the chance to play on the team, so long as she qualified every week. Not only did she qualify, she helped Castleford win the 2012 2A state title.

This should've been a feel-good story; however, a couple coaches, who complained about a girl playing in the tournaments, are now trying to find a way to keep her off Castleford's team for the upcoming season.

The IHSAA wouldn't confirm that a new rule keeping Harr off the boys' team had been put in place, but the Associated Press reported that it's looking at a way to allow Harr the chance to play high school golf, while "preserving fairness for others."

"The mental mind set a golfer gains from golfing for a team cannot be replaced," Harr said in a letter to the Idaho High School Activities Association. "The boys on my team treated me as an equal, and if any of my competitors disapproved of my golfing with the boys, they were gracious enough to keep their opinions to themselves and treated me with respect. The only negative reactions I received were from a few opposing coaches."

It's difficult to say how this situation is going to play out, but the IHSAA is walking an incredibly fine line at the moment. Assuming the association does agree to a new rule that keeps Harr off the team, this could cause a potential uproar -- especially when you consider that 17-year-old Annie Park won the Nassau Boys' (NY) High School Championship by nine shots just last season.

Park, like Harr, had to play on the boys' team because her school didn't field a girls' team. Say what you will about Harr taking a spot away from a deserving boys player, but like the rest of the golfers on her team, she has to earn her spot. And based on the fact that her team won a state title last year with her on the squad, there's no question she's earned the chance to compete against the boys.

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