Track Succeeds Despite Nasty Conditions
April 8, 2017
SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga women’s and men’s track programs ran in cold and rainy conditions at the Northwest Scoring Clash, also known as Washington versus the region (WAR X), at Spokane Falls Community College Stadium Saturday.
Despite a falling wintry mix and wind, the Zags posted a few new top-10 program record times and several stellar finishes.
Jessica Mildes ran the third-fastest 1,500-meter time in GU women’s history. She crossed the line at 4:33.74, and placed second in the event.
“Jess and Kayla Leland (Whitworth) went head to head for every step of the race,” Gonzaga women’s head coach Patty Ley said. “Kayla pulled away by about five steps with 200 to go and appeared to be slightly pulling away around the turn. Jess found another gear down the stretch and 20 meters out caught and moved by Kayla who responded quickly, and once again Jess responded ultimately being outleaned by a hundredth of a second. Both women finished with lifetime bests.”
The Bulldog men swept the top seven spots of the 5,000 meters led by Kyle Thompson’s first place finish. His time of 14:49.60 edged out Conor McCandless’ 14:49.65. Sammy Truax and Dillon Quintana were third and fourth at 15:03.49 and 15:10.99. Coby Eastwood (15:12.64), Henry Morris (15:19.71) and Stefan Bradley (15:25.79) rounded out the sweep.
“The Zags dominated the 5,000,” Director of GU Track and Field Pat Tyson said. “It was a nice controlled three-mile team tempo! Dillon even hit the track hard around the 3,000-meter mark, but he got back up and finished strong. Kyle had a nice 20-second PR, just ahead of Conor.”
In the men’s 800 meters, Kinsly Smith and Zac Garrard placed first and second. Smith’s time of 1:52.20 beat out Garrard (1:54.28). Troy Fraley (3:52.94) and Jake Perrin (3:57.40) were first and third in the 1,500 meters.
“The 1,500 race was loaded with Zags mostly moving down from racing longer distances this past week in Los Angeles,” Tyson said. “Troy bolted to the lead from the start and won. A chilly rain of 35 degrees and a nasty wind was prevalent throughout the race, not making it conducive to fast times.”
Brianna Vasquez ran the third-fastest 200-meter and 400-meter times in women’s program history. She came in fourth in the 400 at 1:00.74, while her 200-meter finish was 27.03 in eighth.
“Jordan returned to racing for the first time since cross country regionals in the fall,” Ley said. “She was rusty, but clicked off 84-86 second laps for a solid opener.”
In the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, Alex Heffelfinger also placed third with a time of 9:29.33.
On Friday night, the Zag men had three runners in the top five of the 10,000 meters. Hunter Simpson (31:33.72) and William Thompson (31:44.72) were second and third, while Ciaran O’Leary (32:15.26) was fifth. Julie Henling came in third in the women’s 10,000 meters at 38:47.89.
Gonzaga returns to southern California for the 59th annual Mt. SAC Relays Thursday and the Bryan Clay Invitational Friday. Both meets will have live video and results on GoZags.com.
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