High school golfer deemed ineligible plays one final event, makes most of it

April 27, 2017

You may remember Joe Gesell of Page High School in Greensboro, N.C., as the student who in March caught a bad break from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

Gesell took extra classes as a freshman, sophomore and junior, so by the time his senior year rolled around he needed only one high school class to get his diploma. To fill out his schedule, he added courses at an area community college.

And that’s where he ran into problems. Gesell was deemed ineligible to play on his golf team because he wasn’t taking enough high-school classes.

Then the Byron Invitational came to the rescue.

According to the Greensboro News & Record, organizers of the tournament thought Gesell deserved another chance and asked him to compete as an individual.

And so on Wednesday Gesell played one final event as a high schooler. He shot a one-over 73 to finish third, five shots behind the winner.

“He was overjoyed because he hasn’t been able to play high school golf as a senior,” Chris LeClerc, host course Bryan Park’s head pro, told the News & Record. “He’s done everything the right way and was told, ‘You can’t play,’ … We thought it was a great opportunity to say, ‘Hey, we think you got a bad deal.'”

Gesell told the newspaper that he doesn’t plan on attending his high school graduation.

“It was kind of a feeling of abandonment,” Gesell said. “I worked hard, worked through the system and did what I thought would exceed expectations … it got me nowhere. It hurt me.”

Gesell will play collegiate golf at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.