Thain Wins Player Of The Year As Vikings Scoop Awards
Aidan Thain was named the GNAC Player of the Year after posting the conference's lowest stroke average and winning the GNAC Championships by 16 strokes.
Aidan Thain was named the GNAC Player of the Year after posting the conference's lowest stroke average and winning the GNAC Championships by 16 strokes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – On the back of a historic performance at the GNAC Championships, Western Washington senior Aidan Thain has been voted by the coaches as the conference’s Player of the Year, leading a 2022 GNAC Men’s Golf All-Conference Team that was dominated by the regionally top-ranked Vikings.

Thain leads all GNAC golfers with a 72.2 stroke average over 25 rounds between the fall and spring seasons. He earned co-medalist honors at the 15-team, 83-golfer Hanny Stanislaus Invitational in March that was a virtual West Regional preview in March before running away with the GNAC Championships – winning the event by 16 strokes and finishing at 14-under-par 199 to set a new GNAC 54-hole record. He shot a round of 64 to tie the all-time lowest spring round in conference history.

Western Washington head coach Luke Bennett earned Coach of the Year honors for leading Western Washington to the team conference title by 22 strokes and the No. 1 seed in the NCAA West Regional. It is the fourth men’s Coach of the Year award for Bennett, who previously won in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Seth King earned the Newcomer of the Year award for the Vikings after spending his 2019-20 freshman season at Bushnell and working his way into a dominant WWU five-man lineup with a stroke average of 75.

Simon Fraser’s Bailey Bjornson earned Freshman of the Year honors, bursting on the scene with four top-10 finishes and three GNAC Player of the Week awards. Bjornson was the conference’s regular-season leader in stroke average and is currently second at 72.5. Bjornson tied for third in a 71-golfer field at the Dennis Rose Intercollegiate in December and finished tied for second at the GNAC Championships.

Thain is joined on the first team by the three golfers who tied for second in Coeur d’Alene: Bjornson, Western Washington senior Jordan Lee and Saint Martin’s senior Max Turnquist. Lee finished fifth in the GNAC with a 73.6 stroke average while Turnquist only played 11 rounds prior to his 2-over-par 215 at the GNAC Championships but finished the season with a 75.2 stroke average.

Tyler Fitchett, the GNAC Championships medalist and conference Player of the Year from 2021, returns to the first team. Fitchett is putting together an outstanding individual season in which he ranks third in the GNAC with a 72.9 stroke average, joining Thain and Bjornson as the only conference players to break 73. Fitchett shared co-medalist honors with Thain at the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational and qualified for the NCAA West Regional as an individual.

Rounding out the first team are Simon Fraser freshman Ryan Hodgins and Western Washington senior Devin Andrews. Hodgins ranks fourth in the GNAC with a 73.0 stroke average, which included tying for second at The Joust at Goose Creek and finishing fourth at the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational. Andrews ranks sixth in the GNAC with a 74.0 stroke average. He finished tied for 10th at the GNAC Championships.

Thain, Fitchett and Andrews all achieved their second first-team selections after also making the team in 2020-21. It was a longer wait to return to the first team pantheon for Turnquist, who was last selected in 2019-20, and Lee, who was last selected in 2018-19. Additionally, Thain, Turnquist, Fitchett (twice) and Lee (twice) have previous second-team selections.

This year’s second team features WWU’s Conrad Brown and King as all five Vikings golfers in the lineup at the GNAC Championships received all-conference honors. Also on the second team are Ryan Stolys and Michael Crisologo of Simon Fraser, Riley Lawrence of Montana State Billings, Dennis Geissler of Saint Martin’s and Lane Strand of Northwest Nazarene.


Player of the Year:
Aidan Thain, Western Washington
Coach of the Year:
Luke Bennett, Western Washington
Freshman of the Year:
Bailey Bjornson, Simon Fraser
Newcomer of the Year:
Seth King, Western Washington

Name School Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
*^ Aidan Thain Western Washington Sr. Bellevue, Wash. (Colorado Mesa Univ.)
Bailey Bjornson Simon Fraser Fr. Surrey, B.C. (Pacific Academy)
+^& Jordan Lee Western Washington Jr. Tacoma, Wash. (Bellarmine Prep)
+# Max Turnquist Saint Martin’s Sr. Yakima, Wash. (West Valley)
*^@ Tyler Fitchett Saint Martin’s Sr. Yakima, Wash. (Eisenhower)
Ryan Hodgins Simon Fraser Fr. Medicine Hat, Alta. (Monsignor McCoy)
* Devin Andrews Western Washington Sr. Kirkland, Wash. (Juanita)
Name School Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Ryan Stolys Simon Fraser Jr. Richmond Hill, Ont. (Bill Crothers)
Michael Crisologo Simon Fraser So. Richmond, B.C. (Vancouver Coll.)
Conrad Brown Western Washington Fr. Burlington, Wash. (Burlington-Edison)
Riley Lawrence Montana State Billings Sr. Helena, Mont. (Univ. of Providence)
+ Dennis Geissler Saint Martin’s Sr. Burlington, Wash. (Burlington-Edison)
Seth King Western Washington Fr. Corvallis, Ore. (Bushnell Univ.)
Lane Strand Northwest Nazarene So. Challis, Idaho (Challis)
* - First Team Selection in 2020-21   
+ - Second Team Selection in 2020-21  
# - First Team Selection in 2019-20   
^ - Second Team Selection in 2019-20  
& - First Team Selection in 2018-19   
@ - Second Team Selection in 2018-19