Billeter, Anjarwalla Share Player Of The Year Honors
WWU's Megan Billeter (left) and SFU's Shirin Anjarwalla (right) had the highest stroke average in the GNAC and tied for fifth at the GNAC Championships. Photos by Shawn Toner.
WWU's Megan Billeter (left) and SFU's Shirin Anjarwalla (right) had the highest stroke average in the GNAC and tied for fifth at the GNAC Championships. Photos by Shawn Toner.

Friday, April 29, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – Western Washington junior Megan Billeter and Simon Fraser sophomore Shirin Anjarwalla’s nearly identical resumes ensured it would be an undeniably close race for the GNAC Women’s Golf Player of the Year award. In the end, the conference coaches decided to give it to both of them.

Co-Player of the Year honors for Billeter and Anjarwalla led the selections to the 2021-22 GNAC Women’s Golf All-Conference Team, with Northwest Nazarene and additional WWU and SFU team members picking up awards voted on by the coaches. Western Washington, which won the GNAC Championships by 10 strokes in Coeur d’Alene last week, earned four of the seven spots on the first team.

Billeter and Anjarwalla had nearly identical stroke averages. Billeter averaged 77.6, narrowly the best mark in the conference, with four top-10 finishes in 16 rounds played. Anjarwalla averaged 77.7 with three top-10 finishes over 20 rounds played. The two golfers even finished in a dead heat at the GNAC Championships, tying for fifth place at 13-over-par 155.

Billeter started her season off with a bang, carding a 68 in the first round of the Saint Maritn’s Invitational in September which tied the GNAC record for low round. She finished the tournament at 2-under-par 142, a stroke behind the winner but nine strokes ahead of third place. Billeter turned in consistent performances while navigating big fields throughout the year, tying for seventh at both the 76-player Westminster Wasatch Invite in October and the 100-golfer Fujikura Invite in March. She shot rounds of 77 and 78 at the GNAC Championships.

Anjarwalla, the only Simon Fraser golfer to play in all 20 SFU rounds this year, led the GNAC with three top-five tournament finishes. She was behind Billeter in a three-way tie for third place at the Saint Martin’s Invitational, then shot 6-over-150 to place fourth at the Pack Classic in the spring season in March. In Simon Fraser’s eight regular-season tournaments, Anjarwalla was the top-finishing SFU golfer six times and second on two other occasions. At the GNAC Championships, Anjarwalla was tied for second after shooting a first-round 76 before carding a 79 on day two to finish tied for fifth.

Western Washington head coach Luke Bennett took home Coach of the Year honors to complete the 2022 sweep of the men’s and women’s awards. Under Bennett’s tutelage, the WWU women defended their 2021 GNAC championship and will represent the conference at the NCAA Regional in Stockton, California on May 2-4.

Simon Fraser’s Natasha Kozlowski was selected as the conference’s Newcomer of the Year after transferring from the University of the Fraser Valley, where she tied for 10th in the 2019 Canada West Championship in her lone season of competition for the Cascades. Kozlowski came into her own at SFU, finishing with the fifth-highest stroke average in the GNAC at 78.4 over 18 rounds. At the GNAC Championships, she led after 18 holes with a round of 4-over-par 75 before hitting a 79 on day two to finish tied for third, her highest tournament finish of the season.

Northwest Nazarene’s Christine Cho earned GNAC Freshman of the Year honors. Cho was NNU’s No. 1 in a year that the Nighthawks finished third at the GNAC Championships and collected three top-two team event finishes. Cho recorded a 78.4 stroke average over 17 rounds, edging out Kozlowski for fourth-best in the GNAC. She collected top-three finishes in NNU’s dual against College of Idaho and the three-team NNU Intercollegiate and finished eighth in the 73-golfer field at the Dennis Rose Intercollegiate in Hawaii, carding a 7-over-par 223 with a low round of 1-under-par 71.

All four special awards winners were also named to the GNAC All-Conference First Team. Joining them were the top two finishers from the GNAC Championships, WWU sophomores Elise Sumner and Dani Bailey, as well as a fourth Viking in sophomore Claire Moon. Sumner, now a three-time first-team selection, added another feather to her cap with a two-stroke victory over Bailey at the GNAC Championships, tallying a first-round score of 76 and shooting the tournament’s low round of 73 on the final day.

Bailey is the only other repeat first-team selection, having also been selected in 2021. While Sumner (six regular-season rounds) and Bailey (eight) were limited in their performances during the regular season, they played their best golf at the right time in Coeur d’Alene. Bailey hit par on the last five holes to keep the pressure on Sumner and pull away from the rest of the field. With scores of 76 and 75, Bailey finished at 9-over-par 151, two strokes behind Sumner but three ahead of third place.

Moon tied for 15th at the GNAC Championships at 166, but was one of the conference’s best golfers throughout the regular season, finishing with the third-best stroke average in the conference at 78.3. Moon tied for third at the Saint Martin’s Invitational and tied for 10th at the Westminster Wasatch Invitational and the Sonoma State Fall Invitational.

The second team features WWU’s Sarah Shea as the entire Vikings’ starting five received recognition, along with Northwest Nazarene’s Madison Gridley and Hannah Holloway, MSUB’s Kinsey Irvin and Tierney Messmer and Saint Martin’s Kathryn Crimp and Jada French. It is the third second-team selection for Holloway and the second second-team nod for Gridley and Messmer. Crimp finds herself on the second team this year after making the first team last year by winning the 2021 GNAC Championships.

Player of the Year: Megan Billeter, Western Washington & Shirin Anjarwalla, Simon Fraser
Coach of the Year: Luke Bennett, Western Washington
Freshman of the Year: Christine Cho, Northwest Nazarene
Newcomer of the Year: Natasha Kozlowski, Simon Fraser

Name School Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
*# Elise Sumner Western Washington So. North Tustin, Calif. (Foothill)
* Dani Bailey Western Washington So. Queenstown, New Zealand
^& Megan Billeter Western Washington Jr. Spokane, Wash. (Mt. Spokane)
Shirin Anjarwalla Simon Fraser So. Nanaimo, B.C. (Dover Bay)
^ Claire Moon Western Washington So. Olympia, Wash. (Olympia)
Christine Cho Northwest Nazarene Fr. Eagle, Idaho (Idaho Virtual Academy)
Natasha Kozlowski Simon Fraser So. Prince George, B.C. (Univ. of Fraser Valley)
Name School Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
+ Madison Gridley Northwest Nazarene So. Meridian, Idaho (Rocky Mountain)
+^ Hannah Holloway Northwest Nazarene Jr. Eagle, Idaho (Bishop Kelly)
Kinsey Irvin Montana State Billings Sr. Lewistown, Mont. (Fergus)
+ Sarah Shea Western Washington Sr. Sequim, Wash. (Sequim)
* Kathryn Crimp Saint Martin’s Jr. Ellensburg, Wash. (Ellensburg)
Jada French Saint Martin’s Jr. Ferndale, Wash. (Bellingham)
+ Tierney Messmer Montana State Billings Sr. Sidney, Mont. (Sidney)
* - First Team Selection in 2020-21   
+ - Second Team Selection in 2020-21  
# - First Team Selection in 2019-20   
^ - Second Team Selection in 2019-20  
& - Second Team Selection in 2018-19