Four Eagles Earn All-Big Sky Honors

April 14, 2008

For the first time in Eastern Washington University women's golf history, the Eagles had four players honored on All-Big Sky Conference Teams in addition to attaining the league's Freshman of the Year award for the initial time.

Named to the First Team were Marli Mikulecky, Chloe Nelson and Kristina Gargaro, while Kellie Holmstedt earned Second Team accolades. Gargaro was also named the Freshman of the Year.

Mikulecky has posted an average round of 76.52 so far this year, which is on pace to set a school record. She was named the Big Sky's Golfer of the Week on March 14 after hitting a hole in one and recording a school-record low round of 67 at the UNLV Spring Invitational on March 12.

"She is the classic example of what working hard on your own time can do for you," head coach Marc Hughes said. "She put in a great deal of her own time to earn this and, while she has to keep pressing forward to improve, I am really happy for her."

Nelson's 76.67 season scoring average is on pace to place her second in school history in that category. She earned Big Sky GOW accolades on Sept. 12 after recording a 225 (75-73-77) at the Ptarmigan Fall Classic and finishing tied for 29th in the impressive field.

"Chloe just continues to do her job for us," Hughes said. "This was her junior year and she improved from last year, which is what you want. This means a lot to her, and I'm glad she earned it again."

Gargaro has twice been named the league's GOW, on Nov. 1 and on April 8. The first time she shot a 224 (75-75-74) to tie for 31st in the power-packed field at the Las Vegas Showdown. Then she became the first Eagle to win an individual championship in four years by claiming the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic crown.

"As a coach you never really know what you are going to get with freshmen when they arrive," Hughes said. "Kristina has been a pleasant surprise to say the least. I knew she was good, but I will give her the 'OFF THE CHARTS' award for the year. She's been a great addition, and I am really proud of her efforts."

Her scoring average of 77.13, currently the third-best in school history, was the best of any first-year player in the league. In fact, Holmstedt was the second-best freshman in the league (79.04) and Northern Arizona's Dakin Banta was third (79.33).

"Kristina is building quite a resume for a freshman," Hughes said. "She won a tournament last week and now adds these awards to her year - fairly remarkable really. She is learning at a rapid pace, but continues to be a strong player on our team. This is a great honor for her."

In addition to her impressive scoring average, Holmstedt earned Big Sky GOW honors on Sept. 26 after helping the Eagles to the MDA Invitational title, its first championship in four years, with a 223 (73-77-73) and third-place finish.

"This is really a nice honor for Kellie," Hughes said. "I threw her to the wolves this year, not knowing what to expect, but she is a fighter and just competes. She will continue to improve, and this is a nice feather in her cap."

Eastern Washington has had 10 Eagles honored by the Big Sky in the past six years and 15 since 1993.

Three times previously had Eastern Washington seen two golfers earn All-Conference accolades, in 2004, 2003 and 1995. This is the first year EWU had more than two golfers honored.

"While all of these honors are individual, the thing that makes me most proud is the team as a whole," Hughes said. "We have seven players who have done a great job on the course, in the classroom and as people. These awards underscore some level of depth which bodes well for the future, but I have been really happy with everyone on my team. They have all done a great job."

The Eagles will take part in the Big Sky Championship from April 21-23 at Foothills Golf Club in Phoenix, Ariz. EWU, ranked 55th nationally (tops in the league), is 27-3 against Big Sky foes so far in the 2007-08 season.

2008 Big Sky All-Conference Golf Teams

First Team
Sophia Choi, Northern Arizona
Marli Mikulecky, Eastern Washington
Chloe Nelson, Eastern Washington
Kristina Gargaro, Eastern Washington
Jenny Henderson, Northern Colorado

Second Team
Kayla Morinaga, Portland State
Heather LeMaster, Sacramento State
Ali Carter, Northern Arizona
Kellie Holmstedt, Eastern Washington
Dakin Banta, Northern Arizona

Individual Award Winners
Player of the Year: Sophia Choi, Northern Arizona
Freshman of the Year: Kristina Gargaro, Eastern Washington

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