Out of all of the golfers on Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll’s Michigan State team Valery Plata is the history buff of the program.
“This winter she actually went through every single one of our media guides,” said Slobodnik-Stoll. “I’ve got them all in a notebook, from when I was in college, so she actually went through and read all of the media guides from when I started collecting them in about 1989.”
It helped Plata understand the culture of MSU’s program, as well as the expectations, and now she’s the one who’s getting honored for her outstanding play on the links. On Monday, the sophomore was named the Big Ten Golfer of the Year. It’s an honor that brought a smile to Slobodnik-Stoll’s face.
“My initial thought is just excitement, and happiness, for her because she works so hard and she’s such an amazing young woman,” Slobodnik-Stoll said with admiration.
Plata led the Spartans with a 72.37 scoring average and got off to a fast start in the fall as she tied for second place in the Spartans’ annual Mary Fossum Invitational, but it was her performance in Chapel Hill, North Carolina that really turned some heads.
“You know her biggest accomplishment of the year was shooting 11-under-par at the Tar Heel (Invitational) this fall,” added Slobodnik-Stoll. “It’s a major college event and she beat some of the best players in the country, and we beat some of the best teams in the country. So I’m just happy for her, and happy for our program, that we continue to turn out great players who are recognized in the conference and on a national level.”
Plata was joined on the All-Big Ten first team by her teammate, and senior, Allyson Geer-Park and junior Yurika Tanida. Senior Paz Marfa Sans was selected to the second team. It’s the first time the Spartans have had four All-Big Ten selections.