Varelia named GNAC Player of the Year

Nick Varelia

April 25, 2012

SPOKANE, Wash. - Nick Varelia and Claire Rachor, both from Western Washington University, have earned the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year awards.

Varelia finished third in the GNAC tournament Tuesday at the Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course with a 54-hole total of 217. On the season he ranks third in the conference in scoring averaging 72.9 strokes per round.

Rachor, who is the season scoring leader with a 77.3 average, took medalist honors at the conference championship Tuesday finishing with a 36-hole total of 153.

Both players led their respective teams to conference titles as the Vikings remained the only school to win a GNAC team golf championship.

Also earning special awards were Marcus Drange, Eric Gravbrot and Cayley Fish, all of Montana State Billings. Drange was voted the GNAC Newcomer-of-the-Year, while Gravbrot and Fish won the GNAC Male and Female Freshman-of-the-Year awards.

Western Washington's Steve Card and Bo Stephan and Kevin Bishop of Saint Martin's were voted the GNAC Coaches-of-the-Year.

Card led the Viking men to the fifth straight conference title in earning his fifth straight Coach-of-the-Year award. He shared the Men's Coach-of-the-Year award with Bishop who directed Saint Martin's to a second-place team finish.

Stephan led WWU's women to the title for the second year in a row since golf was added as a conference sport earning his second Coach-of-the-Year award in as many seasons.

Varelia and Rachor headed up the all-conference teams. Varelia was joined on the men's first team by teammates Craig Crawford, Jake Webb and Dylan Goodwin and by Zach Dietz and Matt Epstein of Saint Martin's.

Varelia and Dietz earned first team honors for the third year in a row, while Epstein and Goodwin were repeaters from last year's first team.

Joining Rachor on the women's first team were Sophie Elstrott and Alex Taylor of Western Washington; Karly Olsen of Saint Martin's and Kalli Stanhope of Montana State Billings. Rachor, Elstrott, Olsen and Stanhope were all repeaters from last year's first team.


First Team, Yr., Hometown
Craig Crawford, Western Washington, So., Stanwood, WA (Highland Christian)
Jake Webb, Western Washington, Jr., Issaquah, WA (Skyline)
*Dylan Goodwin, Western Washington, Jr., Mukilteo, WA (Kamiak - UW)
**Nick Varelia, Western Washington, Sr., Kent, WA (Kentwood)
**Zach Dietz, Saint Martin's, Sr., Jerome, ID
*Matt Epstein, Saint Martin's, Sr., Monroe, WA
*Repeater  **Two-time repeater

Second Team, Yr., Hometown Nick Hardy, Northwest Nazarene, So., Edmonds, WA (Kings) Ben Fosnick, Saint Martin's, Fr., Lakewood, WA (Lakes) Brandon Moore, Saint Martin's, Sr., Tacoma, WA (Washington) Marcus Drange, MSU Billings, Jr., Billings, MT (Billings West) Michelle Belle, Simon Fraser, So., Burnaby, BC (St. Thomas More) Eric Grabvrot, Montana State Billings, Fr., Yakima, WA (West Valley)

Player-of-the-Year - Nick Varelia, Western Washington. Newcomer-of-the-Year - Marcus Drange, MSU Billings. Freshman-of-the-Year - Eric Gravbrot, MSU Billings. Coach-of-the-Year - Steve Card, Western Washington, and Kevin Bishop, Saint Martin's


First Team, Yr., Hometown Alex Taylor, Western Washington, Sr., Sammamish, WA (Eastlake) *Karly Olsen, Saint Martin's, Sr., Bellingham, WA (Sehome) *Sophie Elstrott, Western Washington, Sr., Eugene, OR (South Eugene) *Claire Rachor, Western Washington, Jr., Bellingham, WA *Kalli Stanhope, MSU Billings, Sr., Glendive, MT (Dawson County) *Repeater

Second Team, Yr., Hometown Erin Heaney, MSU Billings, Sr., Anaconda, MT Cayley Fish, MSU Billings, Fr., Great Falls, MT (Charles M. Russell) Jennifer Kent, Saint Martin's, Sr., Tukwila, WA (Foster) Melissa Saken, MSU Billings, So., Peers, ALB (Parkland) Kara Zitzman, Western Washington, Jr., Woodinville, WA (Redmond)

Player-of-the-Year - Claire Rachor, Western Washington. Newcomer-of-the-Year - None selected Freshman-of-the-Year - Cayley Fish, MSU Billings. Coach-of-the-Year - Bo Stephan, Western Washington


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