Fraley Advances to Steeplechase National Semifinals
May 26, 2017
AUSTIN, Texas -- Gonzaga's Troy Fraley ran the fastest time in the men's 3,000-meter quarterfinal at the NCAA West Preliminaries Friday. The redshirt junior crossed the line at 8:44.99 at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.
Fraley becomes the first-ever Zag to win at the NCAA West Regional and is the first-ever men’s qualifier for the national championships in program history. Shelby Mills became the first-ever qualifier for GU, running the steeplechase in Eugene on the women’s side the past two seasons.
“Troy Fraley is a rock star,” Director of GU Track Pat Tyson said. “He is elevating our program like no other! Don't get me wrong, as Willie Milam, Nick Roche, Andy Phillips, Kellen Manley, and Matt Crichlow among others have paved the way! Still, Troy was number one in Texas Stadium! The announcer really captured the moment as he talked about Troy and the Zag runners’ accomplishments this year. Troy now goes to Hayward Field to continue his pursuit of excellence! I could not be prouder of this Junior from Kalispell! Not bad for a kid who paved his way to Eugene by carving out a lane of deep snow last winter so he could chase today's dream and his dream in two weeks! I’m so pumped for the Gonzaga Nation!”
Fraley remained near the front of the race from the start, before breaking away from the pack with Dylan Blakenbaker from Oklahoma. Fraley made his move past the Sooner with a few laps left in the race and used a big kick to pull away with the win.
Blakenbaker finished second at 8:45.88, while New Mexico’s Graham Thomas was third at 8:50.65. Fraley’s heat ended up being the fastest of the three, qualifying five of the 12 runners to Eugene, Ore. The top three finishers from each heat, along with the next three fastest times, advanced to the national semifinals on June 7. The first of two heats will be at 5:02 p.m. Pacific Time.
At the East Preliminaries in Lexington, Ky., Louisville’s Edwin Kibichiy ran the fastest qualifying time at 8:32.91 Friday. Kibichiy, along with five other runners, ran under 8:40.00.
Fraley entered the prelims with the fastest time in the NCAA this season at 8:39.30. He shattered his own school record with a time of 8:39.30 at the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 5.
The Kalispell, Mont. native, returned to the NCAA West Prelims for the second time after placing 29th in the steeplechase in Austin in 2015. As a sophomore, he came in 10th in his heat with a time of 9:10.49. The Bulldog men have had a representative in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA West Preliminaries in each of the past three seasons.
Jake Perrin will be Gonzaga’s first-ever freshman to compete at the NCAA West Preliminaries Saturday. He will run in the second of two heats in the men’s 5,000-meter semifinals. Saturday’s first heat is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Live video and results will be available on GoZags.com.
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