Turnquist’s Playoff Victory Highlights POTW Picks
SMU's Max Turnquist claimed the title at his team's home event on Saturday.
SMU's Max Turnquist claimed the title at his team's home event on Saturday.

Monday, September 25, 2023
by Evan O'Kelly

PORTLAND, Ore. – Max Turnquist’s victory at last week’s Saint Martin’s Bishop Invitational came in improbable fashion and in the form of a thrilling three-hole playoff finish.

The Saint Martin’s men’s golf senior found himself four strokes behind Jacob Jackson of Fraser Valley, his playing partner, on Saturday with three holes left in the tournament. After making par on his 52nd hole of the event, Turnquist delivered one of the best shots of his golf career. Sitting 290 yards from the pin amid the sloping fairway on the par-5, 520-yard eighth hole at The Home Course, Turnquist smashed a 290-yard fairway wood to seven feet to set up his first eagle of the season. A bogey by Jackson made that hole a three-stroke swing, and after Turnquist made par on the par-4, 390-yard ninth hole he found himself in a tie for first place with Cal State East Bay’s Easton Hether.

Turnquist had a tricky chance to end the playoff on Hole 1, but a slippery 12-foot putt settled just on the edge of the hole as both players made par. It took a gutsy effort from the senior on Hole 2, when he punched a 12-foot try six feet past the hole and had a testy cleanup putt to force the third playoff hole.

Turnquist and Saints head coach Zach Dietz learned from Hether’s approach on the par-4, 373-yard third hole, as they watched a shot that landed near the pin spin back to the lower tier of the dramatically sloped two-tiered green. The unfavorable roll after what appeared to be a well-placed shot prompted Turnquist to club up in hopes of reducing spin.

The strategy proved to be a winner, as Turnquist stuck his approach shot to a foot for a tap-in birdie to claim the victory. The individual win, which came among a field of 69 competitors, gave Turnquist his third-career GNAC Player of the Week award. The Saints veteran earned his first honor on Oct. 14, 2019 before claiming a second on Oct. 31, 2022.


Offensive Player of the Week: Nicole Lewis, Northwest Nazarene

Lewis sparked the Nighthawks to a pair of road victories last week, scoring in each game to help her team claim six points and remain undefeated. Lewis had the opening goal in NNU’s 2-0 victory over Central Washington on Thursday before tying the score at 2-2 in the 3-2 win at No. 13 Western Oregon on Saturday. Lewis upped her season goal tally to three, which ranks her third in the conference. This is Lewis’s first career player of the week award.

Also Nominated: Bri Yamaha, SMU; Jacqueline Blakeley, SPU; Kiera Scott, SFU; Chloe Smith, WOU; Morgan Manalili, WWU.

Defensive Player of the Week: Claire Henninger, Western Washington

Henninger came up huge in the Vikings’ three matches last week, racking up 10 total saves to help her team go undefeated. The veteran shot stopper started her week with three denials in a 0-0 draw against Sonoma State last Monday to complete her second shutout of the season. After helping WWU see out a 2-0 result against Simon Fraser on Thursday, Henninger delivered her biggest effort of the young season in a crucial road match at Seattle Pacific on Saturday. Facing a season-high 18 shots, Henninger made a season-high six saves including multiple diving stops to help the Vikings to a 1-1 draw. This is Henninger’s second career player of the week award, after she earned it on Oct. 24, 2022.

Also Nominated: Makayla Roggow, NNU; Janine Biava, SMU; Mercedes Cullen, SPU; Sarah Loewen, SFU.


Offensive Player of the Week: Brooke Dexter, Simon Fraser

Helping Simon Fraser to a 2-0 week, Dexter stood out among the conference’s top offensive performers to earn her third career player of the week honor. Dexter’s 4.17 kills per set were second most among all GNAC players last week, and her hitting percentage of .404 was third highest among the league’s attackers. In the Red Leafs’ 3-0 win over Alaska, Dexter led all players with 14 kills. She followed with a near double-double in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Alaska Anchorage, totaling 11 kills and nine digs.

Also Nominated: Nicole Blue, UAA; Cynphany Henderson, UAF; Brooke Garman, CWU; Karla Soto, SMU; Sarah Brachvogel, SPU; Devyn Oestreich, WWU.

Defensive Player of the Week: Caroline McMahon, Northwest Nazarene

McMahon led all GNAC players with 6.71 digs per set last week, helping the Nighthawks pick up their second league victory of the year, 3-1, at Montana State Billings. McMahon tied her season high with 30 digs in the win over the Yellowjackets, two days after producing 17 digs in a three-set defeat at Seattle Pacific. The senior totaled 47 digs in her seven sets, while adding eight assists to help fuel the NNU offense. This is McMahon’s second career weekly honor, after she claimed defensive player of the week on Sept. 19, 2022.

Also Nominated: Isabel Evans, UAA; Kinley Erickson, UAF, Tia Andaya, CWU; Christine Funk, MSUB, Sirena Peredo, SMU; Kalyn Hartmann, SFU; Finnley Claeys, WWU.


Male Runner of the Week: Coleman Nash, Alaska Anchorage

Nash picked up his second victory of the 2023 season, topping a field of 134 competitors at the Bill Roe Classic on Saturday. Nash held off Simon Fraser’s Sebastian Brinkman by just over three seconds, claiming the title with an 8k time of 24:41.7. Nash moved into a tie with former UAA runner Marko Cheseto for most career cross country runner of the week awards, as Monday’s honor marked the eighth of his decorated career.

Also Nominated: Andrew Rush, MSUB; Kainalu Pagente, SMU; Sebastian Brinkman, SFU; Kanoa Blake, WOU; Kevin McDermott, WWU.

Female Runner of the Week: Caitlin Heldt, Western Oregon

Heldt won the Mike Johnson Classic in Monmouth on Friday, besting a field of 60 competitors for her first victory of the season. Heldt left no doubt, crossing the finish line 24 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor – Portland State’s Abi Swain. The senior finished the 6k race with a time of 21:15.0, just six seconds off her collegiate best of 21:09.1 which she ran at the 2022 GNAC Championships. This is Heldt’s first career cross country runner of the week award.

Also Nominated: Rosie Fordham, UAF; Cassidy Walchak-Sloan, SMU; Rachael Watkins, SFU; Ashley Reeck, WWU.


Player of the Week: Meera Minhas, Simon Fraser

The top finisher at the Saint Martin’s Fall Invitational last week, Minhas tied for third place with a two-round score of 147 (74-73). Minhas carded five birdies her first time through the course on her way to a 2-over-par 74. She shaved off a stroke her second time through, thanks in large part to a 2-under-par 34 on the front-nine and four more total birdies on the day.

Also Nominated: Madison Gridley, NNU; Kelsie Inouye, SMU; Lauren Lee, WWU.


Player of the Week: Max Turnquist, Saint Martin’s

Turnquist won the SMU Bishop Invitational in the form of a three-hole playoff on Saturday. The senior shot a three-round total of 210 (70-71-69) which slotted him a 6-under-par for the event. Turnquist made 10 birdies and an eagle across his 54 holes and limited his mistakes with just six bogeys.

Also Nominated: Liam O’Halloran, MSUB; Bailey Bjornson, SFU; Seth King, WWU.