Eastern Regional High School junior Olivia Rose Arculeo has aspirations of playing girls golf in college. In fact, earlier in April, she and her father visited colleges and universities around New Jersey and Pennsylvania as her college search is underway.
She’s spoken with several college coaches to see if the interest is there, and she’s hopeful that she’ll be able to go to a college and play in the coming years.
However, as it stands, Arculeo still hasn’t played a match against other girls in the conference since Eastern Regional does not yet have a girls team.
Instead, on top of years of playing at tournaments and clubs around the region when able, she has played on the boy’s team all three years of high school.
Arculeo is hopeful, though, that change is coming.
She started playing golf years ago as just a way do something with her dad, but got into it much more seriously during her time at Voorhees Middle School. She participated in the club sport while there.
After getting to Eastern, she joined the boy’s team and discussed the idea of a girls team with multiple people, but the idea never really got off the ground.
That’s when she and her mother decided to go to board meetings to ask for the possibility of creating a girls team.
Arculeo and her mom, Dominique Danielle, have been to two board of education meetings at Eastern Regional in recent months to show there is interest in a girls team at the school.
Most recently, at the board of education meeting Wednesday, April 17, Superintendent Harold Melleby, Jr. said during his report that progress is moving toward making the team a reality.
“The administration did review this … and a recommendation has been received from the school administration that we have a girls golf team for 2019-2020 school year,” said Melleby.
According to Melleby, there is money in the budget for the creation of a girls golf team. The board’s athletic committee is anticipated to convene ahead of its May 15 meeting to go over the logistics of creating a team and place it on the agenda for a vote next month.
Arculeo is thankful the discussion is out there and is hopeful a team can be instituted.
“Everyone seemed to be really on board with it, and I had to thank them a bunch,” Arculeo said. “I’m grateful that they’re taking these steps.”
Since playing at Eastern, Arculeo says many girls have shown interest in golf but not been aware they could play on the boys team, which ended up making them shy away. However, once the girls team is created, hopefully in time for Arculeos’ senior year, she sees plenty of potential for the future of the team.
“The immediate, short-term goal is for a team next year at Eastern,” said Arculeo. “But not only for next year, because I’ll be a senior. Hopefully, we get the interest started and that will get the ball rolling for years to come.”
Arculeo said the boys golf coach, Joseph Murphy, and her teammates on the boy’s team have been more than accepting and kind in training, playing and competing alongside her over the years, making for a pleasant experience from Eastern.