Windy and Rainy Start to Season for Gonzaga Track

March 18, 2017

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SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Gonzaga women's and men's track teams opened their outdoor schedules with stellar finishes despite wet and windy conditions at the Buc Scoring meet at Whitworth University Saturday.

The GU men started the day well, as Phillip Fishburn and Ciaran O'Leary placed first and second in the 10,000 meters. Fishburn's first collegiate victory came in the 25-lap race with a time of 31:55.70, just ahead of O'Leary's 32:25.80, a personal record by eight seconds.

In the men's 5,000 meters, a pack of eight GU runners took turns leading before the bell lap. Jake Perrin led a top-five sweep by the Bulldogs. He crossed the line at 14:47.75, beating out Sumner Goodwin (14:47.76), Scott Kopczynski (14:47.78), Bennett Gagnon (14:52.24) and Max Kaderabek (14:52.25).

Conor McCandless edged out Zac Garrard for the men's 1,500-meter title. McCandless' time of 3:55.69 was ahead of Garrard's 3:56.40.

"The men's 1,500 did not disappoint," Director of GU Track Pat Tyson said. "It was the third distance event of the day and took place in a fairly tough backstretch headwind."

Garrard would later place second in the 800 meters at 1:57.85, despite the windy conditions.

In the final race of the day for the Zags, Troy Fraley took the 3,000-meter steeplechase title with a time of 9:04.36. Henry Morris placed fourth at 9:39.77.

"The weather today was less than ideal," GU women's head coach Patty Ley said. "It was changing every event. Fortunately, it was relatively calm at the beginning of the day for the longest races."

In the women's 5,000 meters, Corrine Murray placed second at 18:34.97. Lauren Bourgeois was not far behind in fourth with a time of 19:03.53.

Jessica Mildes came in second in the women's 1,500 meters. Her time of 4:37.53 was just off of Whitworth's Kayla Leland first place finish at 4:36.82.

"The wind began to kick up and the 1,500 runners felt the effects a least a bit," Ley said. "A really nice opener for Jess as she went head-to-head with Whitworth's Kayla Leland. They took the pace out aggressively and it led to a nice rust-busting opener for Molly Stroosma and Megan Glenski as well."

Mildes also placed fifth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:25.27.

The women's 400 meters was delayed due to a hard downpour. Despite the wait, Brianna Vasquez picked up the win in her heat with a time of 1:02.18.

"The 800-meter athletes took the brunt of the rough weather as they were `warming up' during the downpour and high gusts of wind," Ley said. "While times might not have been sharp, I was pleased with how they competed. This was a nice opener. We have things to work on, but I liked the competitiveness we displayed and that will carry us a long way."

The Zags run at the Sam Adams Invitational Friday at Whitworth. Live results are not available from the meet, but results will be posted on shortly after the meet.



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