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Nighthawks Start XC Season Strong, Sweep Weekly Honors
Tyler Shea (left) won the men's race at the College of Idaho Ice Chipper while Kalen Johnson placed third in the women's race.
Tyler Shea (left) won the men's race at the College of Idaho Ice Chipper while Kalen Johnson placed third in the women's race.

Monday, February 8, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – It may be a very short cross country season in 2020-21 but Northwest Nazarene’s Tyler Shea and Kalen Johnson started it off strong to lead this week’s GNAC Athlete of the Week honorees.

Shea was selected as the Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week as he won the College of Idaho Ice Chipper meet in Caldwell on Friday. The junior covered the 6,000-meter course in a time of 19:26.46, posting a 19-second victory over the College of Idaho’s Logan Hunt. It is the second win for Shea in his NNU career and led the Nighthawks to a second-place team finish with 37 points.

Johnson netted Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors for her third-place finish in Caldwell. The junior covered the 4,000-meter course in 15:04.40 and finished just 12 seconds behind the winner, College of Idaho’s Erin Moyer. Johnson also led the Nighthawks to a second-place team finish with a score of 39 points.

The Nighthawks are scheduled to compete in one more cross country meet this season, on Feb. 20 at the CWU Winter Invite in Ellensburg, Wash.

Northwest Nazarene also netted the Men’s Basketball Player of the Week as senior guard Ezekiel Alley won the award for the third time this season. In Friday’s 93-81 exhibition win over No. 4 (NAIA) Lewis-Clark State, Alley was nearly perfect with 27 points on 8 of 10 from the field, 4 of 4 from three-point range and 7 of 7 from the free throw line. His line included four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Alley and the Nighthawks return to play on Saturday at Central Washington.

Saint Martin’s junior forward Claire Dingus repeated as the Women’s Basketball Player of the Week after she led the Saints to a split of a pair of home games against Seattle Pacific, averaging 16 points per game in the series. Dingus opened the week with an 11-point, five-rebound performance in Thursday’s 55-54 victory and was the key cog in an SMU defense that allowed the Saints to come back from 16 points down. On Friday, Dingus led the Saints with 21 points on 8 of 15 from the field in the 70-64 loss.

Saint Martin’s continues a six-game homestand this week, hosting Northwest Nazarene on Friday and Saturday.

GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK SELECTIONS – WEEK 5
MEN’S BASKETBALL
Ezekiel Alley
(Northwest Nazarene, G, 6-0, Sr., Tucson, Ariz. – Fullerton JC): Alley was nearly perfect to lead the Nighthawks in its 93-81 exhibition win over No. 4 (NAIA) Lewis-Clark State on Friday. Alley finished with 27 points on 8 of 10 from the field, 4 of 4 from three-point range and 7 of 7 from the free throw line. He also finished with four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Also Nominated: Brendan Howard (Montana State Billings).

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Claire Dingus
(Saint Martin’s, F, 6-0, Jr., Spokane, Valley, Wash. – University): Dingus averaged 16 points and 4.5 rebounds per game to lead the Saints to a home split of games against Seattle Pacific. On Thursday, Dingus finished with 11 points and five rebounds and was the point person on the SMU defense that led the Saints back from 16 points down to win 55-54. On Friday. Dingus led the Saints with 21 points on 8 of 15 from the field and added four rebounds and three steals in the 70-64 loss. Also Nominated: Erin Jenkins (Northwest Nazarene), Abril Rexach Roure (Seattle Pacific).

MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Tyler Shea
(Northwest Nazarene, Jr., Spokane, Wash. – Northwest Christian): Shea opened the abbreviated 2020-21 cross country season with his second college career victory, winning the College of Idaho Ice Chipper on Friday. Shea covered the 6,000-meter course in 19:26.46, posting a 19-second victory over College of Idaho’s Logan Hunt. Shea led the Nighthawks to a second-place team finish with 37 points.

WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Kalen Johnson
(Northwest Nazarene, Jr., Zillah, Wash. – Zillah): Johnson opened the 2020-21 season with a third-place finish at the College of Idaho Ice Chipper, covering the 4,000-meter course in 15:06.40. She was just 12 seconds behind the leader and led the Nighthawks to a second-place team finish with 39 points.

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