FRISCO, Texas – Texas State head coach Mike Akers and Linn Gustafsson were named the Southland Conference Coach and Freshman of the Year, respectively in a poll of SLC coaches and sports information directors.
Akers was tabbed the SLC Coach of the Year after leading the Bobcats to their second Southland Conference Tournament championship and leading Texas State to its first ever appearance in the NCAA Division I Central Regional Championships that will be played in Austin on May 5-8. In just his second season at Texas State, Akers led the Bobcats to two tournament victories, including the Southland Conference title, and seven other Top Five finishes.
He has coached the nation’s best freshman class that features Linn Gustafsson, Sehee Kim, Caitlin Bliss and Trine Mortensen. The Bobcats also jumped an astounding 100 spots in the national rankings in twelve months time, moving from 148th in Oct. 2006 to 48th in Oct. 2007.
Akers joined the Bobcat coaching staff in September, 2006, after serving as the assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s golf programs at the University of Central Florida.
A native of Ekero, Sweden, Gustafsson earned Freshman of the Year honors after winning individual medalist honors at the Southland Conference and at Nebraska’s Chip-N-Club tournaments. She not only won the Southland Conference title by five strokes, but set a Southland Conference record with the lowest score at the tournament with 220. She also boasted seven Top 10 finishes and had the lowest average in the conference at 74.50.
Nicole Forshner of Central Arkansas was named the SLC Player of the Year after she had six Top 10 finishes and posted an average of 75.96. Ashley Watkins of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was named the SLC Newcomer of the Year.
Terese Nilsson and Hilary Zeigler of Lamar and Jennifer Heniz of Sam Houston State joined Gustafsson and Forshner on the All-Southland First Team.
Watkins, a transfer from TCU, finished in a tie for ninth place at the SLC Tournament, shooting a 228 to lead the Islanders.
Texas State’s Caitlin Bliss was named an All-Southland Conference Second team selection and was joined on the second team by Watkins, Linda Persson of Lamar, Maggie Welch of McNeese State and Rebecca Sorensen of Central Arkansas.
Named Honorable Mention were Texas State’s Sehee Kim, Channing Norton of Lamar, Lacy of McNeese State, Theunette Van der Walt of Nicholls State, Landa Stewart, Ani Carrillo and Wendy Joyner of Sam Houston State, Laura Baker and Shelly Martinez of UTSA, and Ashley Olynick of A&M-Corpus Christi.
Southland Conference Women’s Golf All-Conference
Player of the Year
Freshman of the Year
Newcomer of the Year
Coach of the Year
By RICK POULTER
Sports Information Director
Pictured: Linn Gustafasson