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    NU's Fletcher, Park and Lee Receive Big Ten Honors

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Kaitlin Park becomes the second Wildcat in program history to receive Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors.

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Kaitlin Park becomes the second Wildcat in program history to receive Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    April 30, 2013

    EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern was well-represented on the 2013 Big Ten women’s golf postseason awards that were announced today by the conference. After capturing the first Big Ten title in program history over the weekend, head coach Emily Fletcher was named Big Ten Coach of the Year, Kaitlin Park received Big Ten Freshman of the Year accolades and earned a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team, along with sophomore Hana Lee.
     
    In her fifth season, Fletcher guided the Wildcats to a stellar 2012-13 campaign that included the team claiming a share of the 2013 Big Ten title. NU led for the entire tournament last weekend in French Lick, Ind., and carded a new Big Ten Championship record for 54 holes of 884. Fletcher’s Wildcats posted five tournament finishes inside the top five, including a third-place showing at the Northwestern-hosted Windy City Collegiate Classic (Oct. 1-2) and at the regular-season finale, the Lady Buckeye Invitational (April 20-21). Fletcher will now coach the Wildcats in their fourth-consecutive NCAA Regional appearance, 11th overall, May 9-11 in Auburn, Ala.
     
    This is the second Big Ten Coach of the Year honor for Fletcher as she also received the award (co-coach) in 2011.
     
    “That’s a huge honor, but trust me, it’s a direct reflection of what our team did,” Fletcher said. “Bringing home our first Big Ten Championship title as a team in our 21-year history of our program that’s about what our kids were able to do down in French Lick. I’m just so proud of them and what they did. We could really see them turn a corner. It’s a huge honor, voted on by my peers and I’m so appreciative of that. You look at the coaches that are in our conference from Therese Hession at Ohio State, Devon Brouse at Purdue, Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll at Michigan State, it’s a who’s who of coaches around the country and it’s a huge honor to receive this award, but again, it’s a direct reflection of our kids.”


     

     

    “I couldn’t think of a better person to win that award," Lee said. "Emily makes sure that we have everything we need to be at our best and all we need to do is do what we love and play golf. She’s really good at preparing, she’s a great mentor and she’s just a great coach."
     
    Park becomes just the second player in Northwestern women’s golf history to be named Freshman of the Year along with Alice Kim who was honored in 2004. The Tustin, Calif., native has four top-10 finishes on the season, including her team-leading sixth place showing at the 2013 Big Ten Championships. Her 74.73 scoring average is second on the team and she has led the team at three tournaments this season. Park has six rounds of par or better, including a 67 during the final round of the Mercedes Benz Collegiate (Oct. 12-14). Her 67 was one stroke off the NU program record for 18 holes and she finished the tournament at 1-under 215.

    "I was really honored to find out I was Big Ten Freshman of the Year," Park said. "It means so much because coming into Northwestern, there's a lot to focus on academically and athletically. I tried to balance everything out and also tried to play my best golf. I've really enjoyed being on the team and working towards the same goal as the team. It was really exciting to support my teammates and also learn from myself by becoming more independent with my game and improving it with Emily and (assistant coach) Beth Miller."
     
    “It’s really exciting to have Kaitlin named Big Ten Freshman of the Year,” Fletcher said. “She has just been so steady. She’s been such a great addition to our program and is just really an accomplished player. It’s fun to watch her. She’s a very explosive player, makes a lot of birdies and is someone who has really stepped up as a freshman. Between she and Hana, both have really anchored our team for us this spring and they’ve done a great job. I’m so proud of Kaitlin.”
     
    Lee has had a breakout sophomore season to earn First-Team All-Big Ten status for the first time in her career. She leads the team with a 74.00 scoring average, which is a new NU single-season record and her career scoring average of 75.50 also is a new program record. The Hacienda Heights, Calif., native has finished in the top 10 in five of nine tournaments this year and in the top 25 in eight of nine tournaments. Lee further etched her name in the NU record book as her first-round score of 66 at the Clover Cup (March 8-10) matches a program record for 18 holes. That was just one of nine rounds Lee has had of par or better, including three rounds in the 60’s. Her score of 68 during the first round of the 2013 Big Ten Championships was one stroke off a Big Ten record for the opening round at the conference tournament. Lee also was recognized as Northwestern's recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
     
    “Hana has been so consistent all year and has been a rock for us,” Fletcher said. “She’s very close to breaking through and winning a bunch of tournaments. She’s just come so far and has matured as a player. She’s always been such a talented kid and is such an asset to our team, to our program as a leader. She’s really coming into her own on the golf course and we’re starting to see that with the low numbers that she’s consistently posting. I’m just very proud of Hana because she has worked really hard this year. She came in with a different mindset and is believing in herself. I’m just thrilled for her and she didn’t waver all season. She’s been in that All-Big Ten, top two or three, all year long, so we’re just so excited.”

    "It’s a great accomplishment," Lee said regarding her All-Big Ten honor. "I just wanted to play well every tournament. I think what I did last year just carried on towards this whole year and I feel like every day counts. It’s not just what I do in the offseason or what I’m doing before a tournament, it’s every day that we’re out here practicing can still help me improve later on in the future."

    This is the first time since 2005 that two Wildcats have been named to the All-Big Ten teams as Alice and Ina Kim received second-team accolades that year. Park and Lee become the eighth and ninth different players in NU history to receive All-Big Ten honors.
     
    The Wildcats look to continue their postseason success at the NCAA East Regional in Auburn, Ala., from May 9-11. Northwestern is the No. 10 seed in the east and is making its 11th postseason appearance, including four-straight under Fletcher.

    2013 BIG TEN WOMEN’S GOLF ALL-CONFERENCE AND INDIVIDUAL AWARD WINNERS
     
    PLAYER OF THE YEAR
    Caroline Powers, Michigan State
     
    FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
    Kaitlin Park, Northwestern
     
    COACH OF THE YEAR
    Emily Fletcher, Northwestern
     
    ALL-BIG TEN
    First Team
    Caroline Powers, Michigan State
    Hana Lee, Northwestern
    Kaitlin Park, Northwestern
    Amy Meier, Ohio State
    Laura Gonzalez-Escallon, Purdue
    Paula Reto, Purdue
     
    Second Team
    Allyssa Ferrell, Michigan State
    Christine Meier, Michigan State
    Aurora Kan, Purdue
    Kishi Sinha, Purdue
    Margaux Vanmol, Purdue
    Kris Yoo, Wisconsin
     
    SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES
    Kaitlyn Wampler, Illinois
    Elizabeth Tong, Indiana
    Briana Midkiff, Iowa
    Lauren Grogan, Michigan
    Caroline Powers, Michigan State
    Carmen Laguna, Minnesota
    Steffi Neisen, Nebraska
    Hana Lee, Northwestern
    Amy Meier, Ohio State
    Katlyn Elliott, Penn State
    Kishi Sinha, Purdue
    Lindsay Danielson, Wisconsin

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