Home Runs, Shutouts, and PRs Lead Latest POTW Picks
SMU's Cassidy Walchak-Sloan clocked a provisional qualifying time of 16:59.17 in the 5,000 meters last week.
SMU's Cassidy Walchak-Sloan clocked a provisional qualifying time of 16:59.17 in the 5,000 meters last week.

Monday, March 11, 2024
by Evan O'Kelly, Assistant Commissioner For Communications

PORTLAND, Ore. – Shutout pitching performances, a six home run softball week and an outdoor 5,000 meter provisional qualifying mark highlighted the latest batch of GNAC Player of the Week selections released on Monday.

MSUB’s Teagan Seeton made the most of an eight-game week for the Yellowjacket softball team, homering six times to claim the award. Central Washington’s Daniel Charron authored a one-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory over Western Oregon, claiming the GNAC Pitcher of the Week award. And Saint Martin’s standout Cassidy Walchak-Sloan clocked a provisional qualifying mark in her debut collegiate 5,000 meters race, winning by more than one minute at the Pacific Lutheran Invitational.


Player of the Week – Teagan Seeton, Montana State Billings

First-career player of the week.

Seeton put together a huge offensive week, leading all GNAC players with six home runs across the Yellowjackets’ eight games played. Seeton also led all GNAC players last week with 12 RBIs and 10 runs scored, while posting a slash line of .600/.630/1.320. Seeton had multiple hits in four different games, going 15-for-25 overall during the stretch. Her six home runs all came within a five-game span, including a 2-homer game in her 4-for-4 performance against Concordia-St. Paul on March 5. Seeton struck out just three times across her 17 plate appearances, and played sturdy defense with two errors in 23 total chances.

Also Nominated: Alyssa Benthagen, CWU; Sidney Booth, NNU; Heather Ebner, SMU; Natalie Willoughby, WOU.

Pitcher of the Week – Mackenzee Collins, Western Oregon

First-career pitcher of the week.

Collins was dominant in her team’s 3-1 series win over Montana State Billings, striking out 26 batters across 16 innings pitched. Collins allowed just three earned runs for a 1.31 ERA, while holding the opposition to a batting average of .213. Among her GNAC-leading strikeout total last week, Collins had 13 of them in her opening performance which was the highest single-game total by any GNAC pitcher thus far in 2024. Collins now ranks second in the GNAC with 66 strikeouts across her 62 innings pitched this season.

Also Nominated: Ashlee Laver, CWU; Caitlyn James, MSUB; Sidney Booth, NNU; Chloe Leverington, SMU.


Player of the Week – Justyn Herzog, Western Oregon

First-career player of the week.

Herzog led all GNAC players in batting average (.500), slugging percentage (.857), on-base percentage (.533) and hits (7) across last week’s games, helping WOU split a pair of games against Central Washington. Three of Herzog’s seven hits went for extra bases, as he supplied his team with a pair of doubles and a home run while driving in four runs. The senior helped the Wolves get the series started with an extra-inning victory, with his at-bat in the 11th inning producing the tying run in the eventual 7-6 triumph.

Also Nominated: Andrew Sharp, CWU; Ryan Jeffrey, MSUB; Mark Steward, SMU.

Pitcher of the Week – Daniel Charron, Central Washington

First-career pitcher of the week.

Charron was magnificent in his start at Western Oregon on Saturday, authoring a one-hit shutout in the seven-inning series finale. There was no margin for error on the mound in the Wildcats’ 1-0 victory, as Charron navigated through the Wolves lineup before receiving his lone run of support in the top of the seventh inning. Charron totaled five strikeouts in the 94-pitch effort, while allowing just five baserunners in the game.

Also Nominated: Ryun Cross, MSUB; Colin Driscoll, SMU; Arturo Alvarez, WOU.


Athlete of the Week – Brian Le, Western Washington

First-career athlete of the week.

Le posted a strong start to his outdoor season, with a pair of event victories at the Pacific Lutheran Invitational. Le ran a 200 meters time of 22.06 (-1.2) seconds, topping a field of 24 competitors at the event. He followed that with a 400 meters time of 48.74 seconds, emerging with the win among 10 competitors. His 400 meters time was just off his personal best of 48.35 seconds.

Also Nominated: Zach Franco, SMU.


Athlete of the Week – Cassidy Walchak-Sloan, Saint Martin’s

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

Walchak-Sloan ran Division II’s fourth-fastest 5,000 meters time this season, checking in at 16:59.17 at the Pacific Lutheran Invitational. The senior won the event among six competitors, with her time being more than a minute faster than the second-place finisher. It was Walchak-Sloan’s debut collegiate performance in the event.

Also Nominated: Annabelle Heiman, WWU.


Athlete of the Week – Jakob Braunstein, Western Washington

First-career athlete of the week.

Braunstein got his name onto the GNAC all-time performance list in the javelin, cutting loose a conference-leading toss of 202’ 5” (61.71 meters) at the Pacific Lutheran Invitational. It was the first 200-foot throw by a GNAC athlete since WWU’s Jaydon Tryon hit 202’ 7” (61.75 meters) last season. Braunstein won the event among a field of 16 competitors, and was just off his collegiate PR of 206’ 0” (62.80 meters) which he set last season competing for Minot State.

Also Nominated: Connor Olmstead, SMU.


Athlete of the Week – Katie Potts, Western Washington

Fourth-career athlete of the week, third this season.

Potts dominated the throw pits in her 2024 outdoor debut, winning both the discus and shot put. Potts topped a field of 19 competitors in the shot put, hitting her winning mark of 42’ 4” (12.90 meters) on her second attempt. She followed with a discus throw of 146’ 0” (44.51 meters) on her first attempt, which held up for first place among 18 competitors. Potts is the reigning GNAC Outdoor Track & Field champion in the discus, winning last year’s title with a throw of 143’ 8” (43.78 meters).

Also Nominated: Jocelyn Saribay, SMU.


Player of the Week – Madison Gridley, Northwest Nazarene

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

Gridley was the conference’s top performer at the Southwest Minnesota State Challenge, finishing tied for fifth place with a two-round score of 9-over-par 153. Gridley opened the tournament with a 1-under-par 71, which was the second-lowest single-round score by any player at the event. It also tied her for the third-lowest single-round score by a GNAC golfer in 2023-24. Gridley elevated her name to No. 3 on the conference scoring list, as she averages 75.0 strokes per round.

Also Nominated: Hannah Adams, MSUB.


Players of the Week – Grayson Giboney, Northwest Nazarene & Braxton McDonald, Western Washington

First-career player of the week for both.

The NNU senior and WWU freshman tied for fourth place at the Nighthawk Invitational, each arriving at a 1-under-par 143 by taking different routes. Giboney had the more consistent play of the two, shooting an even-par 72 in his opening round before finishing with a 1-under-par 71. His top-five finish featured a red hot stretch of three consecutive birdies, which came over his final four holes in the opening round. McDonald meanwhile had the top individual round of the two, shooting a 3-under-par 69 before finishing with a 2-over-par 74. McDonald’s sub-79 round included one of the five eagles recorded at the tournament, as he saved a pair of strokes on the par-5, 550-yard third hole.

Also Nominated: None.


Crew of the Week – Western Washington Varsity 4+


The Vikings notched a strong start to the 2024 season, placing first in the Varsity 4+ at the Pacific Lutheran Invitational. The five-rower crew finished with a time of 8:22.60, beating fellow GNAC member Seattle Pacific (8:42.91) in the head-to-head affair.