Fraley, Mildes and Perrin Qualify for NCAA West Preliminaries
May 18, 2017
Women's Declared Athletes | Men's Declared Athletes | NCAA West Preliminaries Site
Athletes who rank among the top 48 in their respective event earn berths into the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds. The best 24 relay times also advance to NCAA prelims. Athletes with the top 12 times or marks and the best 12 relay teams at both the East and West Preliminary Rounds sites will qualify for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 7-10.
Mildes will run in the women's 10,000-meter semifinals May 25, Fraley competes in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase quarterfinals the following day and Perrin is in the men's 5,000-meter semifinals on May 27. The regionals will be run at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas.
Fraley enters 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. Fraley had a better finish than Louisville's Edwin Kibichiy (8:42.30) and Darren Fahy (8:46.82), which finished third and fifth at last year's NCAA Championships, and Troy Reeder of Furman (8:47.58), who entered the day with the fastest time in the NCAA at 8:40.57.
Fraley is one of two runners in the NCAA to have a time under eight minutes and 40 seconds. Arizona's Bailey Roth ran an 8:39.83 at last week's Pac-12 Championships. Fraley returns 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.
"Troy has the No. 1 collegiate steeplechase time in NCAA Div. 1 West or East," Director of GU Track Pat Tyson said. "It's a great confidence booster for the Kalispell, Mont., lad! It should be a fun set of heats in Austin! Troy is physically and mentally ready. He has great instincts and is a madman over the water Jump. His experience two years ago at the University of Texas venue, competing in the 2016 USA Indoor Championships against heavy weights like Bernard Lagat, Galen Rupp, and Evan Jaeger, plus his 8:39.30 closing in 63.32 seconds last lap at Payton Jordan have calloused him for these situations! I am excited for Troy! He has matured and is really psyched to wear the Gonzaga jersey at the highest level in collegiate competition!"
Mildes also competed in the 2015 regionals. She got tripped up early in the 10,000-meter race and placed 39th at 36:54.57. Anxious for another chance, she returns to the same track as a senior. She owns the program record, 33:40.82, from the 2015 Stanford Invitational.
Mildes enters this year's West Prelims with the 30th-fastest time in the region at 34:13.96. She ran that qualifying time at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 13. Her time is seeded 27th in the 48-runner field.
"Excited again for Jess, she has been a model of excellence and determination in her time here," GU women's track and field head coach Patty Ley said. "The field looks to be very strong, but very even. It should make for a tightly packed race. Following Mt SAC, Jess has been putting in a lot of work. This week is about getting her `fresh' and giving her the best chance to finish in that top 12. Really proud of all she has done!"
Perrin continues a phenomenal freshman season at the regionals. He squeaked into the field with a time of 14:04.82, the third-fastest time on the GU all-time list and best-ever as a Bulldog freshman. The Lakeside, Mont. native, is seeded 47th in the field, while his brother Zach, a junior at Colorado, is 12th at 13:46.09.
"Jake becomes the first Gonzaga pure freshman to compete at the NCAA championships," Tyson said. "Like Troy, he is not afraid to get down and dirty with the big boys! Jake had to take 10 days off as he nursed a sore foot. So, he has bought a few more days to get back to excellent confident fitness. I wouldn't be surprised if Jake is in the hunt to challenge for a spot to the finals in Eugene. How cool would it be if Jake is in the same heat as his older brother?
"I am jacked for Jake and Troy! They are putting the Zags on the map! It's great for Gonzaga University, for our team, and for recruiting! It shows what one can accomplish with purely dedicating themselves to a lifestyle of excellence."
Mildes will race at 7 p.m. Pacific Time on May 25, Fraley's steeplechase begins at 7 p.m. on May 26, and Perrin runs in the 5,000 meters May 27 at 6:45 p.m. Live video and results from the three races will be available on GoZags.com.
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