Fraley Advances to Steeplechase National Finals
June 7, 2017
Fraley crossed the line with a time of 8:43.08, locking up a spot in the national final with his finish at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. The top five finishers from each of the two heats, along with the next two fastest times, advanced to the final.
In the faster of the two heats, Fraley remained in the top two for the majority of the race with eventual first-place finisher Edwin Kibichiy of Louisville. The lead pack clustered up in the final lap and Fraley's time ended up being the sixth-fastest in the semifinals, qualifying him for the final. Kibichiy crossed the line at 8:41.07, as the top seven times from the semifinals came in the second heat. Texas Tech's Benard Keter won the first heat with a time of 8:43.49.
Fraley made school history becoming the first-ever Gonzaga men's participant at the championships. He will continue his phenomenal season with a shot at the school's first-ever NCAA national title.
“Twelve guys won today,” Director of GU Track and Field Pat Tyson said. “At this level there is no athlete that does not want to move into the final elite 12! Troy ran a little nervous with a few butterflies. But, there was a boat load of Zags on the Hayward eastside wooden grandstands loudly cheering Troy on! He felt he should have stayed out of lane two. He felt the tight pack and was a bit boxed in over the last 400, but still finished strong to get one of those two extra slots! He tells me he has more in the tank, so we'll just continue to keep on rolling!”
Fraley entered the postseason with the top collegiate 3,000-meter steeplechase time in the country this season. He shattered his own school record with a time of 8:39.30 at the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 5. He finished second in his heat behind professional runner Brandon Doughty (8:38.69). Pro runners Anthony Rotich and Michael Jordan had the top times in the first heat at 8:36.39 and 8:38.47.
Fraley was one of the last entries invited into the field of 25 runners at the prestigious Payton Jordan. The redshirt junior then finished fourth overall, beating out Olympic Trial runners, the Venezuelan national record holder, and the third-place finisher from the U.S. Cross Country Championships. During the regular season, he was one of only two runners in the NCAA to have a time under eight minutes and 40 seconds.
At the NCAA West Preliminary in Austin, Texas, Fraley ran the fastest time in the region at 8:44.99.
Friday's national final is scheduled for 5:54 p.m. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN, with live results available on GoZags.com.
Results: Men 3000M Steeplechase (Semifinals)
12 Advance: Top 5 Each Heat plus Next 2 Best Times
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