GNACSports.com
Saints, Vikings Clean Up On Player Of The Week Awards
Luke Chavez (left) and Bria Thames both had big performances on the road to give Saint Martin's a sweep of the basketball weekly awards.
Luke Chavez (left) and Bria Thames both had big performances on the road to give Saint Martin's a sweep of the basketball weekly awards.

Monday, March 4, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – It was a good week if you competed for Saint Martin’s or Western Washington with eight athletes from those two schools claiming GNAC Player of the Week.

The Saints collected four of those awards, which included a sweep of the final basketball weekly awards of the season. Senior Luke Chavez was named the Men’s Basketball Player of the Week after he finished with 56 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists to help lead the Saints to their first GNAC regular-season championship. His week was topped by a 33-point, seven-rebound performance in the 105-96 double-overtime win at Central Washington on Saturday.

Junior forward Bria Thames was tabbed as the Women’s Basketball Player of the Week after a pair of big performances after a split of the Saints’ games in Oregon. Thames opened with 20 points and nine rebounds on Thursday at Concordia before closing the season with a double-double of 18 points and 18 rebounds in Saturday’s 82-58 win at Western Oregon.

Saint Martin’s also swept the men’s track and field awards. Senior Jackson Hand earned the Men’s Track Athlete of the Week award after he led a top-three sweep of the 200 meters at the Ed Boitano Invitational in a time of 22.04 seconds. Senior Craig Boyle was named the Men’s Field Athlete of the Week after he took first in the pole vault at the Boitano meet with a clearance of 14 feet, 8 inches.

Western Washington also had four honorees, beginning with a sweep of the softball awards. Senior Emily Benson was named the Softball Player of the Week after she batted .500 and had the first cycle by a GNAC player since 2014 in a series sweep over Montana State Billings. Benson had the cycle in Sunday’s series finale, completing the four-hit masterpiece with a two-run homer in the sixth that ended the 18-9 contest by run rule.

Senior Makinlee Sellevold earned Softball Pitcher of the Week honors after she won three starts over the Yellowjackets, allowing just one run and striking out 28 in 18 innings. She pitched the second no-hitter in the conference this season in Saturday’s nightcap, allowing one walk while striking out nine in the 8-0, six-inning win. Sellevold pitched the no-hitter after allowing one hit and striking out 12 in the 10-0, five-inning win in the opener.

Junior Raquel Pellecer earned the Women’s Field Athlete of the Week award for the Vikings after she won the javelin at the Ed Boitano Invitational. Her mark of 155 feet, 2 inches is an NCAA Championships provisional qualifier and ranks second in Division II this season. Freshman Jordan Lee was honored as the Men’s Golf Player of the Week after he tied for third place at the Bay Area Invitational, leading the Vikings to from come-from-behind team victory.

Western Oregon freshman Ana Popchock was selected as the Women’s Track Athlete of the Week with two strong hurdles performances at the Willamette Opener. She won the 100-meter hurdles in 15.78 seconds and placed third in the 400-meter hurdles in 1:10.83.

Montana State Billings junior Daniel Cipriano earned Baseball Player of the Week honors after he hit .533 in the Yellowjackets’ four-game series at Western Oregon. He went 8 for 15 in the series with seven runs, nine RBI, two doubles and four home runs. His four homers all came in Sunday’s games.

Central Washington junior Hunter French earned his second Baseball Pitcher of the Week award of the season after he allowed one run on three hits and struck out 12 in a seven-inning complete-game win over Saint Martin’s on Sunday, 5-1. It is French’s second win of the season.

GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK SELECTIONS – WEEK 27
MEN’S BASKETBALL
Luke Chavez
(Saint Martin’s, G, 6-3, Sr., Woodacre, Calif. – South Puget Sound CC): Chavez helped propel the Saints to their first GNAC regular-season championship with 56 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in the two games, shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 18 of 19 from the free throw line. Chavez scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Thursday’s 97-87 win at Northwest Nazarene to go with 12 of 13 from the free throw line and four assists. Chavez closed out the regular season with a 33-point performance in a 105-96, double-overtime win at Central Washington. He connected on 11 of 18 from the field, 5 of 11 from three-point range and 6 of 6 from the free throw line. Also Nominated: Dom Bradley (Concordia), Brendan Howard (Montana State Billings), Dalven Brushier (Western Oregon), Trevor Jasinsky (Western Washington).

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Bria Thames
(Saint Martin’s, F, 6-0, Jr., Beaverton, Ore. – Umpqua CC): Thames closed out the regular season with a pair of big individual performances to lead the Saints to a split on the road. She finished just short of a double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds in Thursday’s 85-81 loss at Concordia, connecting on 8 of 13 from the field to go with three assists. Thames finished the season with a double-double of 18 points and 18 rebounds in Saturday’s 82-58 win at Western Oregon. She went 9 of 18 from the field and also had four assists. Also Nominated: Sydni Stallworth (Alaska Anchorage), Kaelie Flores (Central Washington), Keesha Sarman (Concordia), Vanessa Stavish (Montana State Billings), Natalie DeLonge (Western Oregon), Anna Schwecke (Western Washington).

MEN’S TRACK
Jackson Hand
(Saint Martin’s, Sr., Edmonds, Wash. – Edmonds): Hand led a top-three sweep of the 200 meters at the Ed Boitano Invitational, clocking a time of 22.04 seconds. The performance leads the GNAC after the first week of the outdoor season. Also Nominated: Parker Marson (Western Oregon).

MEN’S FIELD
Craig Boyle
(Saint Martin’s, Sr., Vancouver, Wash. – Seaton): Boyle opened the outdoor season by winning the pole vault at the Ed Boitano Invitational. Both Boyce and teammate Chris Rickard cleared 14 feet, 8 inches, with Boyle earning the win on fewer misses. Also Nominated: Chris Steffey (Western Oregon).

WOMEN’S TRACK
Ana Popchock
(Western Oregon, Fr., Maupin, Ore. – South Wasco County): Popchock opened the outdoor season with a pair of solid performances at the Willamette Opener in Salem. She won the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 15.78 seconds and took third in the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 1:10.83. Her time in the 100-meter hurdles leads the conference after one week. Also Nominated: Artresa Nickelson (Saint Martin’s).

WOMEN’S FIELD
Raquel Pellecer
(Western Washington, Jr., Sandy, Ore. – Portland State Univ.): Pellecer started the season strong, leading a one through four sweep of the javelin at the Ed Boitano Invitational. Her winning mark of 155 feet, 2 inches, is an NCAA Championships provisional qualifier and the second-best mark in Division II after the first week of the season. Also Nominated: Keshara Romain (Saint Martin’s), Moana Gionotti (Western Oregon).

BASEBALL PLAYER
Daniel Cipriano
(Montana State Billings, IF/P, 6-3, Jr., Agoura Hills, Calif. – Moorpark Coll.): Cipriano batted .533 in the Yellowjackets’ four-game series at Western Oregon, going 8 for 15 with seven runs, nine RBI, two doubles and four home runs. He opened the series by going 2 for 4 with a double and a RBI in Saturday’s first game. In Sunday’s opener, Cipriano went 3 for 4 and had four RBI, all of which came on solo home run in the second and a three-run homer in the third. He ended by going 2 for 4 in the nightcap with four more RBI and two more home runs. For the four games, Cipriano had a 1.467 slugging percentage. Also Nominated: Michael Peter (Central Washington), Jordan Farhat (Concordia), Bennett Tabaracci (Northwest Nazarene), Austin Feist (Saint Martin’s), Jared McDonald (Western Oregon).

BASEBALL PITCHER
Hunter French
(Central Washington, RHP, 6-4, Jr., Richland, Wash. – Columbia Basin CC): French earned his second win of the season with a complete-game seven-inning win in the 5-1 victory over Saint Martin’s on Sunday. He allowed one run on three hits and struck out 10 in the win while facing just 25 batters. Also Nominated: Jeffrey Lusink (Concordia), Keven Mackintosh (Montana State Billings), Ben Johnson (Northwest Nazarene), Alex Roth (Western Oregon).

SOFTBALL PLAYER
Emily Benson
(Western Washington, 1B, 5-10, Sr., West Richland, Wash. – Kamiakin): Benson led the Vikings in the series sweep of Montana State Billings by hitting .500 in four games, going 6 for 12 with four runs, six RBI, a double, a triple and a home run. Benson opened the series by going 2 for 2 with a pair of RBI in the 10-0, five-inning win. Benson then became the first GNAC player since 2014 to hit for the cycle as she went 4 for 4 with three runs and four RBI in Sunday’s 18-9, six-inning win on Sunday. She capped the game and the cycle with a two-run homer in the sixth. Also Nominated: Linda Gherir (Concordia), Ayanna Arceneaux (Western Oregon).

SOFTBALL PITCHER
Makinlee Sellevold
(Western Washington, P/IF, 5-4, Sr., Everett, Wash. – Cascade): Sellevold won all three starts against Montana State Billings in the series sweep. She amassed a 0.39 earned run average, allowing just one earned run on six hits with 28 strikeouts in 18 innings. Sellevold won Saturday’s 10-0, five-inning opener, allowing one run and one hit while striking out 12. She then proceeded to throw the second no-hitter in the conference this season, allowing just one walk while striking out nine in the 8-0, six-inning win. Sellevold allowed one run on five hits and struck out seven in Sunday’s 3-1 victory. Also Nominated: Sally Bowles (Concordia), Haley Fabian (Western Oregon).

MEN’S GOLF
Jordan Lee
(Western Washington, Fr., Tacoma, Wash. – Bellarmine Prep): Lee led Western Washington’s come-from-behind team victory at the Bay Area Invitational, tying individually for third place with a three-round score of 2-under-par 214. He saved his best round for last, carding a 3-under-par 69. Also Nominated: Luke Travins (Concordia), Trevor Frisby (Saint Martin’s).

Copyright ©2019 Great Northwest Athletic Conference. All Rights Reserved. GNACSports.com