Spartans earn all three honors in the same season for the first
time in program history.
EAST LANSING – The Big Ten announced its coach, player and
freshman of the year honors on Tuesday, and it was a clean sweep for the
conference champion Michigan State women’s golf team. Head coach Stacy
Slobodnik-Stoll was voted the Big Ten Coach of the Year; junior Sarah Burnham
was selected the Big Ten Player of the Year and Allyson Geer garnered Big Ten
Freshman of the Year honors. It’s the first time in program history the
Spartans have won all three awards.
Both Burnham and Geer also earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors,
while junior Katie Sharp was MSU’s recipient of the Sportsmanship Award.
“It is a very rewarding feeling,” Slobodnik-Stoll said. “It is
such a good lesson knowing that sometimes when things don’t go your way, you
just keep enduring with the people around you, work hard and good things are
going to happen. This year has been a perfect example of that. We’ve really
jelled as team the last couple of months. Kudos to our team for believing in
themselves and the program throughout the year, and for taking the momentum and
running with it over the last few weeks.”
It’s the fourth time in Slobodnik-Stoll’s 20 seasons at Michigan
State that she has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year, having previously
garnered the honor in 2001, 2007 and 2012. Last weekend, she led MSU to its
fourth Big Ten title in the last seven years and sixth during her tenure as
The Spartans have placed in the top six of each of their last
five tournaments. MSU took sixth at both the Central District Invitational
(Feb. 20-21) and Briar’s Creek Invitational (March 20-21) before posting its
second best score of the season at the Clemson Invitational (March 31 – April
2), claiming fifth place.
The Spartans got their first tournament title since 2014 by winning
the Lady Buckeye Invitational (April 15-16) before overcoming an eight-stroke
deficit in the final round to win the Big Ten title last weekend.
Burnham had a big hand in MSU taking home the Big Ten title as
she fired a school and conference championships record 9-under-par 63 in the
second round. She was the tournament runner-up with a 5-under-par 211.
“It’s phenomenal. Sarah just continues to get better and
better,” Slobodnik-Stoll said. “Being named player of the year is an incredible
accomplishment, and it puts her in select company. We are all thrilled for
Burnham’s 72.17 scoring average is on pace to break her school
single-season record (72.42) established last year as a sophomore. The native
of Maple Grove, Minnesota, placed second at the Mary Fossum Invitational (Sept.
24-25) with a 3-under-par 213, which was the lowest score ever recorded by a
Spartan at the event. She was also the runner-up at the Lady Buckeye with a
She completed the regular season and Big Ten Championships with
the highest Golfweek/Sagarin Big Ten player rating (71.94).
Burnham is the fourth Spartan to be named Big Ten Golfer of the
Year and first since current assistant coach Caroline Powers garnered the honor
Geer is the first Spartan to be named freshman of the year since
Dayna Burleigh in 2003. She is the fourth in program history to earn the
Geer, who signed her National Letter of Intent in November,
joined the Spartans in January and played in every tournament this spring.
Geer’s play throughout the spring mirrored that of the Spartans, steadily
improving each week. She got her first top-15 finish at the Clemson
Invitational with a 1-over-par 217. The Brighton native followed that with a
top-five showing at the Lady Buckeye, taking fifth place with a 6-over-par 222.
Geer had her best tournament of the year at the Big Ten
Championships with an even-par 216, including 2-under 70 in the final round, to
take fourth place.
Her 73.44 scoring average is second only to Burnham on the team.
She posted the best Golfweek/Sagarin Big Ten player rating among conference
“Ally had some ground to make up in order to receive this
award,” Slobodnik-Stoll said. “She has had an incredible run thus far and she’s
only getting better and better with each week. We put her in the lineup without
any time to adjust and I just give her so much credit for her maturity.”
Sharp was the recipient of the Sportsmanship Award. The students
chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship
and ethical behavior. In addition, the students must be in good academic
standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the
She had her best finish of the year at Big Ten Championships,
placing fifth with a 2-over-par 218. Sharp placed in the top 16 in each of the
last four tournaments, posting a 73.0 scoring average over the span.
The Spartans’ Big Ten title earned them an automatic bid to the
NCAA Regionals. They’ll find out where they’ll be playing when the field is
announced live on Golf Channel on Thursday at 11 a.m.
“We still have our two most important tournaments to go this
year and we we’re peaking at right time,” Slobodnik-Stoll said.
2017 BIG TEN WOMEN’S GOLF ALL-CONFERENCE AND INDIVIDUAL AWARD
Big Ten Player of the Year: Sarah Burnham, Michigan State
Big Ten Freshman of the Year: Allyson Geer, Michigan State
Big Ten Coach of the Year: Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, Michigan State
Elodie Van Dievoet, Michigan
Sarah Burnham, Michigan State
Allyson Geer, Michigan State
Hannah Kim, Northwestern
Stephanie Lau, Northwestern
Micaela Farah, Purdue
August Kim, Purdue
Brooke Ferrell, Wisconsin
Swing Liu, Illinois
Tristyn Nowlin, Illinois
Sarah Cho, Northwestern
Janet Mao, Northwestern
Jaclyn Lee, Ohio State
Katja Pogacar, Ohio State
Jessica Porvasnik, Ohio State
Covadonga SanJuan, Purdue
Sportsmanship Award Honorees
Grace Park, Illinois
Carolina Garrett, Indiana
Jessica Ip, Iowa
Ludovica Farina, Maryland
Grace Choi, Michigan
Katie Sharp, Michigan State
Muyu Wu, Minnesota
Sarah Pravecek, Nebraska
Kacie Komoto, Northwestern
Rio Watanabe, Ohio State
Jackie Rogowicz, Penn State
Marta Martin, Purdue
Emily Mills, Rutgers
Michelle Cheung, Wisconsin