Pollard and Heffelfinger Win Events at WSU Indoor Open
Jan. 20, 2018

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PULLMAN, Wash. -- Brandon Pollard led a top-four sweep for the Gonzaga men's track team in the 800 meters at the 16th annual WSU Indoor Open Saturday.

Pollard won the event with a time of 1:53.95, the second-fastest 800-meter finish in program history. He finished ahead of 34 other runners in the field, including teammates Mason Villarma, Jonah Sandoval and Stefan Bradley. Villarma was second at 1:57.44, the eighth-best time in GU history. Sandoval's (1:57.65) and Bradley's (1:57.78) finishes rank ninth and 10th all-time at Gonzaga. Andrew Clusserath was close behind with the 11th-fastest time in program history at 1:58.13. He placed sixth in the event.

"The 800-meter race could have a headline titled `the perfect storm'," Director of GU Track and Field Pat Tyson said. "In the three sections, the Zags took the top-five places. It was a wild, crazy last 200 meters, as Brandon pulled away with a 3.5 second victory. It was one of the deepest 800 finishes for the Zags in school history. Pretty amazing to think Villarma, Sandoval, Bradley, and Clusserath were all within 0.6 of a second within each other. It was beautiful to watch. Brandon's time of 1:53.95 is one of the top 800-meter performances ever in the Washington State Indoor Bubble, just off the all-time mark of 1:53.21 set in 2005 by Washington State's Justin Ireland."

Alex Heffelfinger ran the fastest mile time of the day at 4:27.92. He was the top-finisher in the 45-runner field. Alex Walde placed fifth with a time of 4:33.76, while Nathan Vanos was 10th at 4:36.67.

"Alex was the top gun of the day," Tyson said. "At the bell lap, Alex was 20 meters behind the leader, but he would go on a terror and take the win right at the finish line."

In the men's 3,000 meters, Dominic Arce made his collegiate debut with a second place finish. The freshman's time of 8:59.37, was just ahead of teammate William Thompson's finish of 9:03.06. Sam McCloughan came in fifth at 9:08.91. Kyle Thompson (9:21.07) and Hunter Simpson (9:21.62) were eighth and ninth.

Aimee Piercy came in third in the women's 800 meters. She crossed the line at 2:24.46, winning the second heat, and narrowly missing the first place finish of 2:22.34 from Kayla Leland of Whitworth. Ally Legard and Claire Gillett were sixth and seventh at 2:26.66 and 2:26.90.

In the women's 300 meters, Claren Fraher placed seventh, followed by Brianna Vasquez in eighth. Fraher's time of 46.49 edged out her teammate Vasquez's time of 46.53.

Caroline McCarthy (10:52.31) and Katherine Gustafson (10:56.68) were eighth and ninth in the women's 3,000 meters. The quartet of Rachel Hansen, Legard, Piercy and Gillett were 10th in the women's 4x400-meter relay with a time of 4:25.49.

"It was a long day, but a good one especially for the younger athletes," Gonzaga women's head coach Patty Ley said. "They are getting their first indoor experience and finding out what it's like at this level. We began the day with the 60-meter races, the ladies showed a bit of rust for the shorter distance, but it set them up well for their later events. Jenny Albrecht and Olivia Evans had solid efforts in the mile. Olivia hasn't touched a track since last May, so it was a real rust buster for her, but she felt good about her start and knows her marks will improve rapidly over the next few weeks.

"It was kind of fun that they had a 300-meter race. It's not an event we normally see, but it was just perfect for Claren's first race after a fall off. Brianna got caught in an awkward position in the blocks not really being able to hear the starter clearly, but got rolling and finished well. It was a terrific run by the 800 crew with Aimee ending up with a third place finish from the second heat. Really good to see the quickness of Ally and Claire. The `army' of ladies in the 3k worked very well together and again the freshman duo of Caroline and Katherine led the Zags with very nice initial indoor 3ks. We're looking forward to being back here in two weeks!"

"It was a good day down in the Palouse, winning two of three races, and placing second in the third," Tyson said. "Now we get ready to take the crew to the elite UW Invite."

The Zags return to the Dempsey Center at the University of Washington for the two-day UW Invitational on Jan. 26-27. Live video will be available via FloTrack, along with live results on GoZags.com.



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