Zags Ready for Return to Track

Jan. 11, 2017

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SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Gonzaga women's and men's track programs begin their 2017 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 five indoor meets are in the popular northwest indoor facility. Eight of the Bulldogs' 10 indoor program records have been set in the Dempsey Center.

"Our goal in Seattle is to get a nice test effort in to see how we are doing," Director of Gonzaga Track Pat Tyson said. "We are bringing runners over to one of the fastest indoor facilities in the world. There will be very good athletes competing. Expect Olympic 1500-meter gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz to run in part of the UW Preview!

"It's just nice to get something in and use it as a reference point to work on our date pace and goal pace for the outdoor season. It is not our goal to peak indoors though, it is our goal to be inspired by good competitive efforts and feed off of that inspiration to lay down marks that bring a boat load of Zags to the NCAA Outdoor Preliminaries in Austin, Texas in late May!"

After redshirting the cross country season, Troy Fraley returns in a Zag jersey for his senior season Saturday. The program 3,000-meter indoor record holder runs in the event Saturday at 5 p.m. He set the program mark at the Dempsey Center last season in the Husky Classic with a time of 7:57.16. Scott Kopczynski ran the program's third-fastest time, 8:11.80, at the UW Invitational last season. He opens his sophomore season in the event Saturday.

In the 800 meters, Kinsly Smith will try to improve on his third-fastest program time, 1:54.14. The 800 starts at 2:40 p.m.

On the women's side, four Zags open the day for GU in the mile at 11:40 a.m. Claren Fraher runs in the 600 meters at 2 p.m. The junior returns after running a 1:41.45 at last season's UW Preview, which ranks third in program history.

Amelia Evans is back after redshirting last season. She begins her senior season in the 3,000 meters at 4:20 p.m. Evans' personal best time of 9:53.66, fourth on the program list, was run in the 2015 UW Preview.

"In this first meet we will see the return of Amelia Evans for her last season of indoor (and outdoor)," GU women's head coach Patty Ley said. "It has been over a year since we have seen her on the track, so we are expecting a bit of rust, but still excited to have her back in the training mix.

"We are looking forward to the track season. It should be interesting since we are seeing so much snow. Training may have to focus on the aerobic and we will have to be pretty creative about speed and pace work."

Olivia Evans, Julie Henling, Amanda Kiefer, Claire Manley and Jessica Mildes are accepted entries in the 3,000. Mildes ran a 9:55.46 in the 2015 UW Preview, which sits in sixth on the program's all-time list.

"Jess is a question mark for the meet," Ley said. "As a Spokane area kid she has struggled to get much work beyond being on the bike. Jordan Thurston will redshirt this indoor season. She has a pretty tough academic load and would like to get on top of it before hitting outdoor in the spring.

"We're excited to see what Katy Culver, Claren Fraher, Jenny Albrecht, Molly Stroosma, and Kate Wagner bring this winter and into the spring. We saw good improvement last year and good fall seasons could lead to another round of big improvements."

The Bulldogs travel to Pullman, Wash. next weekend, before returning to Seattle for the two-day UW Invitational on Jan. 27-28. GU competes in the Idaho Dual on Feb. 3, and the Husky Classic the following week. The NCAA Indoor Championships is in College Station, Texas, on March 10-11.

"Those not competing this Saturday will have an opportunity to run next weekend in Pullman at the Washington State Cougar Indoor," Tyson said. "At the end of the day, if we have an athlete make the top-16 list and qualify for the NCAA Indoor Nationals at Texas A&M, that's cool! Exciting stuff ahead for the men and women of Gonzaga track and field!"

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



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