Nebraska’s Kate Smith brought home three major awards from the Big Ten when the conference announced its year-end women’s golf honors on Monday, May 18.
Smith, a senior from Detroit Lakes, Minn., captured first-team All-Big Ten recognition while becoming the first Husker in history to win the conference’s Mary Fossum Award, which honors the Big Ten golfer with the lowest stroke average relative to par during the season. Smith also claimed Nebraska’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. She is just the second Husker women’s golfer to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors, joining Maddie Sheils (2012) – Nebraska’s first season in the conference.
Smith was on track to earn an NCAA Regional bid as an individual for the Huskers in 2020, before the coronavirus outbreak brought the 2019-20 winter and spring seasons to an end. The NCAA granted seniors an additional year of eligibility, and Smith plans to take advantage of that opportunity and return to the Nebraska women’s golf team for a fifth season in 2020-21.
Nebraska’s career record holder with a 73.45 stroke average over 104 rounds, Smith set the school single-season record for the third straight year with her 72.18 average over 17 rounds in 2019-20.
In her final event of the 2020 collegiate season, Smith tied for second at the Westbrook Spring Invitational. She fired the second-best tournament total of her career (65-66-72-203). Her two-round total of 131 on the opening day of the event tied her own 36-hole school record set at Westbrook in 2018. It was one of three top-10 tournament finishes for Smith in 2019-20, including a tie for second at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational in Sammamish, Wash. (Oct. 8-9). She also tied for eighth with a 213 (71-72-70) at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. (Sept. 9-10).
Overall, Smith owns 16 career top-10 tournament finishes at Nebraska among her 24 career top-25 performances. She has fired 30 rounds better than par in her Husker career, including six during the 2019-20 season.
2020 Big Ten Conference Women’s Golf Awards
Golfer of the Year: Valery Plata, Michigan State
Mary Fossum Award: Kate Smith, Nebraska
Freshman of the Year: Irene Kim, Northwestern
First-Team All-Big Ten
Kate Smith, Sr., Nebraska
Valery Plata, So., Michigan State
Allyson Geer-Park, Sr., Michigan State
Yurika Tanida, Jr., Michigan State
Ashley Kim, Jr., Michigan
Kelly Sim, So., Northwestern
Priscilla Schmid, Jr., Indiana
Second-Team All-Big Ten
Tristyn Nowlin, Sr., Illinois
Irene Kim, Fr., Northwestern
Virun Olankitkunchai, Jr., Maryland
Brooke Riley, Sr., Northwestern
Aneka Seumanutafa, So., Ohio State
Paz Marfa, Sr., Michigan State
Kornkamol Sukaree, So., Illinois
Hailey Borja, Fr., Michigan
Sifat Sagoo, Fr., Purdue
Big Ten Sportsmanship Awards
Kate Smith (Nebraska), Reena Sulkar (Illinois), Mary Parsons (Indiana), Jacque Galloway (Iowa), Elena Verticchio (Maryland), Hannah Ghelfi (Michigan), Valery Plata (Michigan State), Grace Curran (Minnesota), Kelly Su (Northwestern), Adeena Shears (Ohio State), Sarah Willis (Penn State), Kan Bunnanodee (Purdue), Maeve Rossi (Rutgers), Tess Hackworthy (Wisconsin)