Gonzaga's Fraley becomes Bulldogs' first-ever track All-American - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Gonzaga's Fraley becomes Bulldogs' first-ever track All-American

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics

By Gonzaga Athletics
EUGENE, Ore. -- Gonzaga's Troy Fraley placed seventh in the 3,000-meter steeplechase national final at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Friday.

Fraley crossed the line with a time of 8:35.38 at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. That time breaks his own school record, previously 8:39.30 ran at the prestigious Payton Jordan Invitational. The redshirt junior's finish made the first track All-American in Gonzaga history. The top eight finishers from the race received All-American honors.

Fraley made school history becoming the first-ever Gonzaga men's participant at the championships running in the semifinals Wednesday, before becoming the first-ever Zag to run in a national final Friday.

"All-American," Director of GU Track and Field Pat Tyson said. "A new school record! Troy made Zag Nation proud! He was happy, but not satisfied, he wants more! He fought hard and ran tough. Troy opens the door for Gonzaga men and women distance running to enter the national scene conversation! We are so excited in Eugene! Tears of joy by teammates, alumni, and those that comprise the Zag Nation! This is what college athletics is all about!"

Fraley spent most of the 7.5-lap race in the middle of the pack, before joining in on very quick final lap. Louisville's Edwin Kibichiy eased to the national title with a time of 8:28.40, the fastest collegiate time this season. Georgetown's Darren Fahy was second at 8:31.08.

Fraley's made an unforgettable run to the national championships at the most prominent track and field facility in the country. The track has been home to numerous U.S. Olympic Trials, the Junior World Championships, and will host the World Championships in 2021. The Kalispell, Mont. native, qualified for the national final by placing sixth in his semifinal heat, advancing with a time of 8:43.08.

Fraley entered the postseason with the top collegiate 3,000-meter steeplechase time in the country this season from 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. 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.

Fraley also qualified for the 5,000 meters at the West Prelims. He chose not to race in the event and focus on the steeplechase, but ran the program's second-fastest 5,000-meter time at the Portland Twilight. He won the event on May 13, with a time of 13:57.58. He is one of only two runners in GU history to run a sub-14 minute 5,000-meter time.

Fraley placed in the top four in 10 of the 11 races he ran in the outdoor season, finishing first or second in nine of those races. He placed first six times. He came in second in the 3,000 meters at the UW Preview to open the indoor season, and nearly broke his own school record at the UW Invitational. He ran three races unattached during the cross country season and won all three.

Fraley returns with one year of eligibility in cross country and on the track next season.
 
Results: Men 3000M Steeplechase (Finals)                        
Top 8 are All-Americans

1

Edwin KIBICHIY

SR

Louisville

8:28.40

2

Darren FAHY

SR

Georgetown

8:31.08

3

Dylan BLANKENBAKER

SR

Oklahoma

8:31.17

4

MJ ERB

SR

Ole Miss

8:32.38

5

Scott CARPENTER

JR

Georgetown

8:32.92

6

Benard KETER

SR

Texas Tech

8:34.27

7

Troy Fraley

JR

Gonzaga

8:35.38

8

Troy REEDER

JR

Furman

8:38.64

9

Emmanuel ROTICH

SO

Tulane

8:40.64

10

Jacob HESLINGTON

FR

BYU

8:44.28

11

Bailey ROTH

SO

Arizona

8:48.70

12

Noah SCHUTTE

SO

Portland

9:04.87

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