(Editor’s note: MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – Earning second-team all-Great Northwest Athletic Conference honors for the third straight season, Montana State University Billings women’s golf senior Shealyn Hafer was recognized when the all-league teams were announced Friday.
“This is a great honor for Shealyn,” said MSUB head coach Jeff Allen. “To be recognized on the GNAC all-conference team is a great accomplishment, due to the amount of high-quality players in the league. Shealyn worked very hard on her game this year, and made the most of her senior season.”
Hafer posted a scoring average of 79.7 strokes per round this spring, which led the Yellowjackets and ranked eighth in the GNAC. It was also the ninth-best single-season scoring average in MSUB history. She was among three players who earned all-conference for the third season in their careers, and joined Kalli (Stanhope) Allen (2008-12) and Melissa Saken (2010-14) as the only other players in MSUB history to earn all-conference three different times.
“I want to thank my parents for the endless amount of support over the years, and my coaches and teammates,” Hafer said on Wednesday night during a speech after being named the MSUB Female Athlete of the Year at The Buzzies. “They pushed me the extra mile when I sometimes didn’t want to, or thought that I couldn’t.”
One of Hafer’s top performances this season came at the Saint Martin’s University Invitational, when she finished in second place among a field of 41 competitors with a two-round score of 156 (79-77). Hafer’s effort led the Yellowjackets to the team title at the event, as they posted a two-round score of 640 (329-311) and won by a convincing 14 strokes. Hafer’s second-place finish at the event was her highest placing in a tournament in her career.
Individually, Hafer reached her career lows both in single-round scoring and two-round scoring throughout the year. At the Warrior Invitational in Las Vegas on March 12, Hafer posted a 1-over-par 73 in the first round to establish her career low. That earned the Butte native her first GNAC Player of the Week honor of the year, and she followed with another impressive performance two weeks later.
“Throughout the entire spring season at one point during each round, I took a moment to look around and really take everything in,” Hafer said. “As I was walking up 18 on Tuesday I was feeling so many emotions. I was very sad and couldn’t believe it was coming to an end. However, I thought to myself how blessed I was to have something so special in my life that makes it so hard to say goodbye.”
Competing at the Western New Mexico University Mustang Invitational, Hafer again started strong by matching her career best with a 73 in the opening round. Following with a 78 in Round 2, Hafer reached her career two-round best score of 151 at the event. The mark is also tied for the ninth-best two-round score all-time by an MSUB player, and earned Hafer another GNAC Player of the Week award.
“Shealyn’s senior season was highlighted by her career-low round multiple times, as well as some of the best finishes of her career,” Allen said. “She was a player you could always count on every round, and was the true heartbeat of this program.”
Hafer competed in all 10 events and all 20 rounds for the ‘Jackets during the 2018-19 season, logging five top-10 finishes and a pair of top-five finishes. She earned academic all-GNAC for the third straight season as well, becoming the seventh player in MSUB history to be a three-time academic winner as she joined Amy Nordeen (2007-10), Lindsay Erickson (2008-12), Stanhope (2008-12), Saken (2010-14), Haley Shackelford (2012-16), and Bailee Dexter (2014-18).
Hafer wrapped up her career on Tuesday at the 2019 GNAC Championships, overcoming a tough start and finishing her final round strong. She closed her four-year tenure with the ‘Jackets by making birdies on her final two holes, and sinking a five-foot putt on the final stroke of her career.
Concordia University’s Cammie Decker and Western Washington University’s Lacy Sheldon were named the 2018-19 GNAC co-Players of the Year, and the Cavaliers’ Kaley Saludares was picked as the Freshman of the Year. Sheldon, who won this year’s conference tournament and had the top scoring average in the league at 76.0 strokes per round, was named the Newcomer of the Year. Concordia’s Lindsay Aho and Simon Fraser University’s Matthew Steinbach shared the GNAC Coach of the Year award.