April 30, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State senior Caroline Powers has been named the Big Ten Women's Golfer of the Year, the conference office announced on Tuesday. Powers also earned a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team for the third year in a row. In addition, juniors Allyssa Ferrell and Christine Meier garnered second-team All-Big Ten accolades.
Powers owns a 73.64 scoring average and has placed in the top five in five of MSU's nine tournaments this season. She finished runner-up at the Big Ten Championships with a 3-over 219 and was named to the All-Championships Team for the third straight year. The Bowling Green, Ohio, native is ranked No. 23 in the nation by Golfweek and had the highest Golfweek/Sagarin rating in Big Ten competition with a 72.11.
Powers tied for first place at the Central District Invitational on Feb. 19 in Parrish, Fla., and also placed second at the Mary Fossum Invitational and the Mason Rudolph Championship in the fall. She has been named Big Ten Golfer of the Week three times this season and six times in her career, which is third most in conference history. Powers leads the team in birdies (76) and has shot under-par in six rounds this season.
With a career scoring average of 74.25, Powers is on pace to own the lowest average in school history (Laura Kueny, 74.60). She has placed in the top five in 14 career tournaments and in the top 10 on 21 occasions, including three tournament victories (2011 Lady Buckeye Invitational, 2011 Mary Fossum Invitational, 2012 Central District Invitational).
Powers also has the top-three season averages in school history (MSU record 73.53 in 2010-11; 73.64 this season; 73.78 in 2012-13). She placed sixth at the 2011 NCAA Championships, the highest ever by a Spartan at nationals.
Powers is the third Spartan to be named the Big Ten Golfer of the Year (Emily Bastel, 2002; Laura Kueny, 2010).
"We are so happy for Caroline - she's been deserving of this award for many years in our eyes," said MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. "She's always been so close. She's won so many awards, but I think being named the best player in your conference is really special. We're very, very proud of her and the way she represents Michigan State University and our program. I'm so proud she's a Spartan now and forever."
"It was awesome when Coach told me," said Powers. "Last year I was so close when I was in second place (in the Sagarin rankings). I feel like I had a good year this year, better than last year. This is kind of like the cherry on top of the steps along the way (to get to this point). I felt like I had a couple of learning lessons the past couple of years. The season's not over, but just to end the Big Ten season this way definitely makes me feel good."
Powers was also named the Sportsmanship Award recipient for the Spartans.
Ferrell ranks second on the team in scoring average (75.52), birdies (59) and sub-par rounds (4). She is fresh off back-to-back top-10 showings in her last two tournaments, including a career-best fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships with a 5-over 221. The Edgerton, Wis., product tied for seventh at the Lady Buckeye Invitational on April 21 and also posted a top-10 finish by taking ninth at the Central District Invitational on Feb. 19. Ferrell carded the best single-round of the year for the Spartans with a 3-under 69 in the second round of the Mary Fossum Invitational on Sept. 15.
"Allyssa has had a very impressive season," said Slobodnik-Stoll. "What we like to see out of our players is continual improvement throughout their time here, and Allyssa is definitely headed in the right direction. On the last day of the Big Ten Championships, she was 4-over after four holes and got it back to even par, which on that golf course is a tremendous accomplishment. She's calm on the golf course and her putting is outstanding."
Meier is third on the team with a 76.40 average and tied for a career-high third place at the Big Ten Championships with a 4-over 220. She tied for ninth in the first tournament of the season at the Mary Fossum Invitational in September, and also delivered a top-20 showing with an 18th-place finish at the Lady Buckeye Invitational. Meier ranks third on the team with 48 birdies.
"Christine took over a little bit of the role of Lindsey Solberg when she left last year in terms of being a gamer," Slobodnik-Stoll said. "Christine enjoys the big-time competition and steps up to the plate when necessary. She had a great feeling all weekend at the Big Ten Championships. She's a great player and an incredibly talented bunker player. She's got a lot of shots. She's continually improving, which is exactly what we need our players to do in order to play golf after Michigan State on the tour."
Both Ferrell and Meier landed spots on the Big Ten All-Championships Team for their performances last weekend.
Over the last 16 years, Slobodnik-Stoll's players have earned All-Big Ten honors 36 times, including 22 first-team selections. All three of Michigan State's Big Ten Golfers of the Year have arrived during Slobodnik-Stoll's tenure.
Michigan State earned a bid to the NCAA Regionals for the 15th consecutive season and will play in the NCAA Central Regional at the Jimmie Austin Oklahoma University Golf Course in Norman, Okla., on May 9-11.