Richmond’s Wealth Of Experience Leads ‘Jackets To Wins

Monday, February 12, 2024
by Evan O'Kelly, Assistant Commissioner For Communications

PORTLAND, Ore. – The longest-tenured Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball player had one of his biggest performances to earn GNAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week honors.

A Billings native, Richmond helped keep the Yellowjackets (17-6, 11-2) at the top of the GNAC standings with a pair of tightly-contested road victories over Simon Fraser and Western Washington. After enduring numerous injury-related setbacks throughout a career that began during the 2017-18 season, Richmond took home his first-career weekly award.


Player of the Week – Zharon Richmond, Montana State Billings

First-career player of the week.

Richmond propelled his hometown team to a pair of victories last week, helping the Yellowjackets stay in first place in the GNAC standings. The seventh-year senior was instrumental in both victories, averaging 22.5 points and shooting 51.7% in the two road games. Richmond’s big week was highlighted by a 28-point performance in the team’s 88-83 win at Western Washington, as he made 10 of 15 field goals while dishing out four assists and grabbing four rebounds. That came after a 17-point effort in MSUB’s narrow 76-72 win at Simon Fraser. Richmond was clutch down the stretch in both wins, hitting a key bucket to extend MSUB’s lead to two possessions against WWU after a block, an offensive rebound and a pair of free throws all in the final minute of the four-point win at SFU.

Also Nominated: Tyson Gilbert, UAA; Nick Hopkins, UAF; Maverick Sanders, CWU; Gabriel Murphy, NNU; Jaden Nielsen-Skinner, SMU; Shaw Anderson, SPU; Jason Gallant, WOU; Will Wilson, WWU.


Player of the Week – Riley Dykstra, Western Washington

Second-career player of the week, second this season.

Dykstra put together another stellar all-around performance, and led WWU to a pair of victories headlined by an average of 23.5 points per game. The junior averaged 4.5 assists per game, 5.0 rebounds per game and committed just two turnovers in 73 minutes on the floor. Dykstra had the GNAC’s eighth 30-point game of the season in Saturday’s 69-60 win at Central Washington, connecting on 11 of 16 field goals and contributing four assists. That came after 17 points and eight rebounds in WWU’s 91-84, overtime win at Northwest Nazarene. Dykstra made all 13 of her free throws on the week and added a pair of steals to her stat line.

Also Nominated: Tori Hollingshead, UAA; Emma Wass, UAF; Asher Cai, CWU; Dyauni Boyce, MSUB; Shalyse Smith, SMU; Layne Kearns, SPU; Sophia Wisotzki, SFU.


Player of the Week – Emma Andrewjeski, Western Washington

First-career player of the week.

The Viking newcomer was an offensive cog in the team’s 5-0 week in California, leading all GNAC players last week in home runs (3) and RBIs (8) while slugging .762, scoring four runs and hitting .333. Andrewjeski started her week with three RBIs in a 7-3 win over Dominican, and capped it off with a four-RBI performance in a 6-1 win over Cal State Monterey Bay. The catcher had at least one hit in all five of WWU’s games last week, bookended with 3-run home runs.

Also Nominated: Laney Kaysner, CWU; Clarissa Moreno, NNU; Olivia Matlock, SMU; Victoria Zimmerman, WOU.

Pitcher of the Week – Chloe Leverington, Saint Martin’s

Second-career player of the week, first this season.

Contributing in all five of Saint Martin’s wins last week, Leverington notched three victories and a pair of saves in SMU’s California road trip. The right-hander had a season-high seven strikeouts across 3 1/3 innings in the team’s 5-1 win over Sonoma State. On the week Leverington led all GNAC pitchers in earned run average (0.58) and strikeouts (15), while pitching 12 innings, holding the opposition to a .167 batting average and posting a WHIP of 0.83.

Also Nominated: Olivia Ross, CWU; Sidney Booth, NNU; Kaiana Kong, WWU.


Player of the Week – Jack Nehler, Montana State Billings

First-career player of the week.

Nehler slugged his way to the weekly honor, leading all GNAC players with six RBIs, eight hits and a pair of home runs. Both of Nehler’s long balls came in a 3-for-4 performance at San Francisco State, and he added one of his two doubles on the week. Nehler ranked second among GNAC players in hitting (.571), second in slugging (1.143) and fourth in on-base percentage (.533) in last week’s games.

Also Nominated: Ben Leid, CWU; Duke Pahukoa, NNU; Jonathan Shimabukuro, SMU; Zach Valdez, WOU.

Pitcher of the Week – Jonathan Zayas, Northwest Nazarene

First-career player of the week.

Zayas was nearly untouchable in the Nighthawks’ 4-0 shutout of Stanislaus State, authoring seven brilliant innings to propel the Nighthawks to a win. The left-hander allowed just one hit and one walk, while striking out nine batters and keeping the Warriors’ offense silent. The second-year Nighthawk matched his NNU career highs in both innings pitched and strikeouts, and it was his first shutout performance in a starting role.

Also Nominated: Reid Rasmussen, CWU; Jake Finkelstein, MSUB; Colin Driscoll, SMU.


Athlete of the Week – Joshua Caleb, Alaska Anchorage

First-career athlete of the week.

Caleb quickly rearranged the GNAC top-10 lists last week, running the second-fastest 60-meters time and the second-fastest 200-meters time in the history of the league. The freshman was just 0.01 seconds off the GNAC record in the 60-meters, clocking in at 6.73 seconds to put his name at the top of the GNAC performance list. His 200-meters time of 21.43 seconds was just 0.03 seconds shy of the GNAC record, and was the fastest time by a GNAC runner this season. Both marks were NCAA provisional qualifiers, as Caleb is now 14th nationally in the 60 meters and 23rd nationally in the 200 meters.

Also Nominated: Josh Green, CWU; Kainalu Pagente, SMU; Ephrem Mekonnen, SFU; Western Oregon Distance Medley Relay; Kevin McDermott, WWU.


Athlete of the Week – Marie-Eloise Leclair, Simon Fraser

Ninth-career athlete of the week, second this season.

Leclair broke her own GNAC record in the 200 meters, shaving off 0.02 seconds and clocking in a 23.60 at the Valentine Invitational in Boston. That mark kept her name No. 1 on the NCAA Division II performance list. She also checked in with a 60 meters time of 7.44 seconds, and helped SFU run a distance medley relay time of 11:46.25 which was a provisional qualifier and the 20th fastest in Division II this year. Leclair’s nine-career athlete of the week awards are fourth-most in GNAC history as she trails SPU’s Jessica Pixler (17), SPU’s Danielle Ayers-Stamper (12) and NNU’s Ashley Puga (12).

Also Nominated: Jess Chisar, UAA; E’lexis Hollis, CWU; Madeline Severson, MSUB; Cassidy Walchak-Sloan, SMU; Annika Esvelt, SPU; Caitlin Heldt, WOU; Marian Ledesma, WWU.


Athlete of the Week – Isaiah Webster, Central Washington

Second-career athlete of the week, first this season.

Webster leapt to the top of the GNAC performance list in the long jump, clearing 23’ 2.75” (7.08 meters) at the Whitworth Invitational last week. He became the first athlete in the conference this season to clear the 23-foot mark in the event, and finished second among a field of 35 competitors in last week’s meet.

Also Nominated: Anders Larsen, UAA; Ryan Fenley, MSUB; Nicholas Monro, SFU; Tyler White, WOU.


Athlete of the Week – Kerlinda Chatwin, Simon Fraser

First-career athlete of the week.

Chatwin hit a PR in the triple jump for the second consecutive meet, locking up a provisional qualifying mark at the Valentine Invitational in Boston. The freshman posted a mark of 38’ 3.5” (11.67 meters), besting her GNAC-leading distance in the event by 0.25”. The effort helped Chatwin break into the top-50 nationally in the triple jump.

Also Nominated: Emy Ntekpere, CWU; Grace Jones, MSUB; Laine DeJong, NNU; Ujunwa Nwokoma, WOU; Sydney Mohlman, WWU.

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