Gonzaga Opens Track Slate Saturday

Jan. 10, 2018


SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Gonzaga women's and men's track programs begin their 2018 schedule at the UW Preview in Seattle Saturday.

Several Zags will be running inside the Dempsey Center on the University of Washington campus. It will be the first of three visits to the Demspey during the indoor season. Three of GU's six indoor meets are in the popular northwest indoor facility. Eight of the Bulldogs' 10 indoor program records have been set in the Dempsey Center.

"Indoor track and field is always interesting for Gonzaga," Director of Gonzaga Track Pat Tyson said. "The cold, short days of winters in the Inland Northwest require what I like to call a `Rocky Balboa' mentality. To start with, we have had all 33 runners have to be self-starters during the roughly four-week holiday break. It is actually a very good thing, as some of our athletes live in Arizona and California. They have reached out to each other and a few have traveled to the `warm belt' to get some very good strength workout sessions in. Others have stayed out of the icy and snowy Spokane climate and have trained in rainy Portland or Seattle.

"Fourteen of our athletes will rendezvous in Seattle this coming Saturday to compete in three different venues at the UW Preview meet at the world class Dempsey indoor oval. The meet is going to be a nice rust buster for the Gonzaga distance runners."

The GU men have six runners entered in the mile. Mason Villarma, who boasts the third-best indoor mile time in program history at 4:08.49, and Brandon Pollard (No. 4 in program history, 4:10.69) will lead the Zags in the event. After a sold cross country season, Jake Perrin opens his track season in the 3,000 meters. He ranks third in program history at 8:09.02. Scott Kopczynski, who is fourth all-time at GU at 8:11.80, will also compete for a top spot in the 3,000 meters. Kinsly Smith will be the loan Zag in the 800 meters. He is also third all-time at Gonzaga with a personal best of 1:54.14.

On the women's side, Ally Legard, Aimee Piercy and Jenna Rogers begin the day for the Zags in the mile at 11:40 a.m. Legard, Piercy and Claire Manley are entered in the 3,000 meters at 4:20 p.m. Brianna Vasquez is set to run in the 200 and 400 meter races. She owns the fifth-best indoor 400-meter time in program history at 1:03.25. The GU women have three quartets entered in the 4x800-meter relays beginning at 3:55 p.m.

"We're looking forward to the indoor season opening this weekend," GU women's head coach Patty Ley said. "I've heard lots of good things from the women, and our typical indoor schedule of five weeks will be perfect for our young crew. It will allow the introduction to full year training that many of the freshmen may not have done before without being too much in this first year.

"Most of the women will be running shorter -- with several 4 x 800s that will allow a nice opener and a chance to get feet wet indoors. I'm excited to see this crew and then get everyone back next week. A number have seen significant progress from injuries before break with just a couple still working to find solutions. We're looking forward to having some fun in training and racing over the next few weeks!"

The Bulldogs travel to Pullman, Wash., next weekend, before returning to Seattle for the two-day UW Invitational on Jan. 26-27. GU competes in the Idaho Duals on Feb. 2, and the Cougar Indoor in Pullman on Feb. 3. The Zags will have a final shot at qualifying times and marks at the Husky Classic the following week. The NCAA Indoor Championships is in College Station, Texas, on March 9-10.

"Our indoor season is comprised of five possible competitions in consecutive weeks," Tyson said. "The University of Washington meets are geared for the more quality athlete and the Washington State and University of Idaho meets are for our developing runners. Ultimately our goal is to get some nice test efforts in for confidence and take that positive energy to our outdoor season. We do not want to peak indoors. We want to be ready to use these experiences to learn more about competing and get some nice test efforts in to see where we are with our fitness.

"We have 19 weeks until the NCAA West Outdoor Regional in Sacramento! It is the goal of each of our athletes to get in the top 48 in each event that they are focusing in to qualify. Depth wise, this is the greatest assembled bunch of runners I've ever coached. I expect a radical change in our top 10 performances in both indoors and outdoors. I'm incredibly excited for the men and women of Gonzaga track and field!"

Live video will be available from FloTrack Saturday. Live results will be on GoZags.com.



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