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Record Track Marks Lead Player Of The Week Winners
Western Oregon's Badane Sultessa (left) reset his GNAC record in the 800 meters while Simon Fraser's Vladislav Tsygankov set a conference record in the long jump.
Western Oregon's Badane Sultessa (left) reset his GNAC record in the 800 meters while Simon Fraser's Vladislav Tsygankov set a conference record in the long jump.

Monday, February 1, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. – A pair of conference indoor track and field records tops the list of six honorees for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s Player of the Week awards.

Western Oregon senior Badane Sultessa was selected as the Men’s Track Athlete of the Week after he bettered his own conference record in the 800 meters at the UW Invitiational in Seattle. Sultessa placed fifth amongst a field dominated by Division I competition. His time of 1:50.23 bettered his previous record of 1:50.73, which he set last year, and is second best in Division II this season. Additionally, Sultessa ran the third (800-meter) leg on the Western Oregon distance medley relay team that placed third and set a school record with a time of 9:53.08.

Simon Fraser senior Vladislav Tsygankov earned the Men’s Field Athlete of the Week award after setting a GNAC record in the men’s long jump. Tsygankov placed third in the event at the UW Invitational and his mark of 23 feet, 10.75 inches, bettered the old record of 28 feet, 8 inches, set by Western Oregon’s Matson Hardie in 2010. The mark is a provisional qualifier for the NCAA Championships and ties him for 11th best in Division II this season.

Seattle Pacific senior Lynelle Decker was named the Women’s Track Athlete of the Week after she became one of two GNAC athletes to earn automatic qualifying marks for the NCAA Championships at the UW Invitational. Decker finished the 800 meters in 10th place and was the top small college finisher with a personal best time of 2:09.38. The mark moves Decker into No. 7 on the GNAC all-time list and is the second best mark in Division II this season. Decker also ran on Seattle Pacific’s 4x400-meter relay team, which earned a NCAA Championships provisional qualifying mark with a seventh place time of 3:51.85.

Alaska Anchorage senior Karolin Anders was named the Women’s Field Athlete of the Week for the second time this season. Anders was the top small college finisher in the pentathlon at the UW Invitational, placing seventh with a score of 3,741 points. In the process, Anders improved her GNAC best in the high jump. Her mark of 5 feet, 8 inches, moves her into a tie for fifth on the GNAC all-time list and ties her for third on the Division II season best list.

Seattle Pacific senior Mitch Penner earned the Men’s Basketball Player of the Week award after he led the Falcons to a sweep of their Alaska road trip, moving SPU into second place in the GNAC standings. Penner scored his 1,000th career point in Thursday’s 79-69 win at Alaska, scoring 29 points to go along with five assists. Penner then led the Falcons with 24 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists in SPU’s 74-71 win at Alaska Anchorage, Penner made 19 of 32 from the field and 5 of 10 from three-point range in the two contests.

Jenna Buchanan was named the Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, leading Alaska Anchorage as they reclaimed first place in the GNAC standings. She scored 11 points in a balanced scoring effort on Tuesday as the Seawolves won at Alaska, 82-56. Buchanan then matched her career-high with 28 points, which included 6 of 9 from three-point range and 8 of 8 from the free throw line, as UAA claimed the showdown between the first place teams at Montana State Billings on Saturday, 85-73. Buchanan scored 39 points in the two games and shot 9 of 16 from three-point range.

GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK SELECTIONS – WEEK 22
MEN’S BASKETBALL
Mitch Penner
(Seattle Pacific, F, 6-5, 215, Sr., Seattle, Wash. - Kennedy): Penner scored 53 points on 19 of 32 from the field and 5 of 10 from three-point range and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Falcons swept their opponents on the Alaska road trip. He scored his 1,000th career point in Thursday’s 79-69 win at Alaska, finishing with 29 points on 9 of 16 from the field to go along with five assists. In Saturday’s 74-71 win at Alaska Anchorage, Penner finished with 24 points while shooting 10 of 16 from the field to go along with six rebounds and four assists. Penner has played a key role in the Falcon’s current seven-game win streak. Also Nominated: Andy Avgi (Western Oregon), Preston Beverly (Montana State Billings), Blake Bowen (Western Washington), Almir Hadzisehovic (Alaska), Fred Jorg (Saint Martin’s), Mike Wright (Northwest Nazarene).

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Jenna Buchanan
(Alaska Anchorage, G, 5-8, Sr., Galena, Alaska - Galena): Buchanan scored 39 points, shooting 9 of 16 from three-point range, and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Seawolves took sole possession of first in the GNAC standings with road wins over Alaska and Montana State Billings. She delivered a team-high 11 points in a balanced team effort in 22 minutes in the 82-56 win at Alaska. On Saturday, Buchanan matched her career high of 28 points on 6 of 9 from three-point range and 8 of 8 from the free throw line and scored 18 in the second half in the 85-73 win over the Yellowjackets. Also Nominated: Rebekah Baugh (Saint Martin’s), Kayla Bernsen (Western Washington), Alisha Roberts (Simon Fraser), Taylor Simmons (Northwest Nazarene), Mandy Steward (Central Washington), Jordan Wilson (Alaska).

MEN’S TRACK
Badane Sultessa
(Western Oregon, Sr., Portland, Ore. – Clackamas CC): Sultessa broke his own GNAC record in the 800 meters at Saturday’s UW Invitational, placing fifth in a time of 1:50.23. The performance bettered the record by a half-second (1;50.73, set in 2015), is a NCAA Championships provisional qualifier and is second best in Division II this season. Sultessa also ran the third (800-meter) leg of WOU’s distance medley relay team as the Wolves ran a school record time of 9:53.08 and a NCAA Championships provisional qualifying mark. Also Nominated: Isaac Derline (Western Washington), Carlos Ortiz (Concordia), Latrelle Swayne (Saint Martin’s), Turner Wiley (Seattle Pacific), Distance Medley Relay team (Simon Fraser).

MEN’S FIELD
Vladislav Tsygankov
(Simon Fraser, So., Moscow, Russia - 1521): Tsygankov broke the GNAC indoor record in the long jump, placing third at the UW Invitational with a mark of 23 feet, 10.75 inches. The surpassed the old GNAC record of 28 feet, 8 inches, set by Western Oregon’s Matson Hardie in 2010. A provisional qualifier for the NCAA Championships, the performance leads the GNAC and is tied for 11th in Division II this season. Also Nominated: Louis Faust (Concordia), Brandon Pless (Western Washington), Mikel Smith (Saint Martin’s).

WOMEN’S TRACK
Lynelle Decker
(Seattle Pacific, Sr., Vancouver, Wash. – Mountain View): Decker secured her four consecutive trip to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, hitting the automatic qualifying mark with 10th place finish at the UW Invitational (top Division II finisher). Her time of 2:09.38 is seventh fastest in GNAC history and is second best in Division II this season. Decker also ran on the Falcons’ 4x400 relay team that also hit a provisional qualifying mark and placed seventh in 3:51.85. Also Nominated: Dani Eggleston (Central Washington), Sara Fristoe (Concordia), Valda Kabia (Simon Fraser), Nicole Maurmann (Western Oregon), Shannon Porter (Saint Martin’s).

WOMEN’S FIELD
Karolin Anders
(Alaska Anchorage, Sr., Berlin, Germany – Werner-Seelenbinder): Anders was top small college finisher in the pentathlon at the UW Invitational, placing seventh with a score of 3,741 points. In the process, Anders took the GNAC lead and improved her NCAA Championships provisional qualifier in the high jump. Her mark of 5 feet, 8 inches moves her into a tie for fifth on the GNAC all-time list and ties her for third in the Division II seasonal list. Also Nominated: Tori Johnson (Concordia), Megan Mortensen (Western Washington).

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