Simon Fraser Takes Top GNAC Honors
Cara Lukawesky (left) and Kelsey Haberl swept top GNAC awards.
Cara Lukawesky (left) and Kelsey Haberl swept top GNAC awards.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Simon Fraser first baseman Kelsey Haberl and Clan pitcher Cara Lukawesky have been voted the 2012 GNAC Player-of-the-Year and Pitcher-of-the-Year, respectively.

Saint Martin's, meanwhile, won the GNAC's other three major awards as Rick Noren was voted the GNAC Coach-of-the-Year and Taylor Bakos and Sam Munger earned the GNAC Newcomer-of-the-Year and GNAC Freshman-of-the-Year awards, respectively.

Haberl led the GNAC in batting average (.465), on-base percentage (.596) and walks (38) and ranked second in slugging (.740) and doubles (17). Her on-base percentage broke the GNAC record of .579 set last year by Samantha Petrich of Central Washington and her walk total was three shy of the conference record.

Lukawesky led the GNAC with 21 wins, in saves with four and shutouts with seven. She also ranked second in strikeouts with 117 and third in ERA allowing 2.38 earned runs per seven innings pitched.

Noren orchestrated the biggest turnaround in GNAC history as the Saints, who were picked to finish last in the GNAC Coaches pre-season poll, posted a record of 33-18, including 24-12 in conference games. SMU's overall record was a 18-game improvement over last year's 9-30 mark and its conference record was a 15-game improvement on their 8-26 record of a year ago.

Noren, who is a 1987 graduate of Western Washington University, now has a 42-48 record in two seasons at Lacey and is 449-193 overall. He previously coached 14 seasons at Pacific Lutheran University.

Two players that played a big role in the turnaround were Bakos and Munger. Bakos had a 9-5 record and a ranked second to teammate Joslyn Eugenio in ERA with a 2.32 average. Munger posted a 16-7 record and had a .402 batting average, splitting her time between the circle and shortstop. She finished second in the GNAC in wins and third in hitting.

The composition of the first team all-conference teamreflected the closeness of the race as Montana State Billings edged Simon Fraser by one game and Saint Martin's by two for the conference title.

MSUB, SFU and SMU all placed three players on the GNAC first-team all-star team, while Western Washington earned two first team slots. Western Oregon and Central Washington each had one.

Four players were unanimous first team selections though Haberl was not one of them. She was, however, one of three repeaters from last year's first team including second baseman Lacey McGladrey of Saint Martin's and outfielder Meg Harasymczuk of MSU Billings.

Earning unanimous selections this spring were Lukawesky, Harasymczuk, Saint Martin's third baseman Morgan Klemm and Western Oregon outfielder Amanda Evola.

Also earning first team all-conference honors were Munger, pitcher Stephanie Fox of Western Washington, MSUB catcher Nicole Wilkerson, SFU infielder Leah Riske, outfielders Rose Harrington of MSUB and Jessica Carey of WWU and designated player Elena Carter of Central Washington.

Sixteen players, including Eugenio who earned first team honors in both 2010 and 2011, were selected to the second team. An additional 14 other players were named to the honorable mention list.

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