It’s often said that you can’t go home again—but Josh Pethel ’22 enjoyed the opportunity to do just that this academic year.
Pethel was born in 2002 in nearby Chambersburg, when his parents (Beth and Brad) were Mercersburg faculty members; Beth taught science and Brad worked in the Admission Office. The Pethels called Mercersburg home for seven years before spending three years at a school in Dallas and eventually moving to Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio, where they’ve been since 2010.
Josh Pethel picked up a golf club for the first time around age 3 or 4, but didn’t start playing competitive golf until high school. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit during his 11th-grade year at Western Reserve, Pethel rededicated himself to the sport by playing every day, “and that’s when I realized I might really be able to do something with golf,” he says. He began attracting significant attention from college programs, and when WRA canceled its fall 2020 athletic season, he received a waiver to play with the local public-school team.
With so much unsettled, Pethel began to think about a postgraduate year at Mercersburg, which posted one of its best golf seasons in school history in 2021–2022, going undefeated in head-to-head matches. In an April tournament, Pethel carded a 69, which is believed to be the lowest 18-hole score for a Mercersburg golfer in the past 25 years. He will tee off beginning this fall for Denison University.
“Being back at Mercersburg has been great,” Pethel says. “I found a good group of friends here, it was an easy transition, and hopefully it will make for a smoother transition to college.”