Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Gonzaga's Troy Fraley & Tacoma native Marcus Chambers advance to Friday's finals at NCAA champs...

EUGENE—On a slightly overcast day in the Willamette Valley, the 2017 NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships got underway at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.Wednesday afternoon.

Troy Fraley of Gonzaga (above/photo by Mike Scott) the school’s first ever male qualifier to this meet, advanced to Friday’s 3000 meter steeplechase with a sixth-place finish in the faster of the two semi-final races, running 8:43.08.

Fraley was one of the two time qualifiers for Friday’s finals, as the top five in each heat advances in addition to the two fastest times not in the top five.  Both of the time qualifiers came out of the second heat.

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.

“Troy ran a little nervous with a few butterflies”, said Gonzaga head coach Pat Tyson. “! 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!”

Tacoma native Marcus Chambers of Oregon advanced to yet another national championship final in the 400 meter dash, as he finished third in the first of three heats in a time of 44.92, a new personal best, and more significantly, broke the 45 second barrier for the first time.

Texas A&M’s Fred Kerley, the new collegiate record holder in this event, won the heat in a time of 44.57, with LSU’s Michael Cherry second in 44.73.

In all, five of the eight finalists broke 45 seconds, which could potentially make Friday’s final special.

An hour before Chambers’ race, he ran the anchor leg on the Ducks’ 4 x 100 relay team that qualified for the finals on Friday, as they won in 38.76 over Texas A&M (38.77) and Arkansas (38.79).

Washington State’s CJ Allen was third in his heat of the 400 hurdles, running 49.44, and missed advancing to Friday’s final by 1/100th of a second, as Texas A&M’s Robert Grant ran 49.43 to get the second auto-qualifying place.

Spokane native Tanner Anderson of the University of Oregon was 13th in the 10000 finals, running 29:21.67, as Tulsa’s Marc Scott won in 29:01.54.

In the men’s hammer, Pac-12 champ Brock Eager of Washington State finished 14th with a best throw of 66.16 (217-1).

Newport resident Aaron Castle of the University of Arizona finished 15th in the shot put, with a best of 61-3 (18.67m), as Virginia’s Filip Mihaljevic won with a throw of 69-10.75 (21.30m).

The women take over Hayward Field Thursday, as Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale (1500m), Laura Anuakpado (400m), the Husky 4 x 400 relay, and Olympia native Brooke Feldmeier of Oregon (800m) try to qualify for Saturday’s final.

Finals contested Thursday include the pole vault with the last two Pac-12 champs, Kristina Owsinski and Liz Quick of the UW, along with Husky teammate Izzi Batt-Doyle in the 10000m finals.


Here is the complete list of athletes competing in the championships along with their start times:

Thursday

W 1500 semis (4:46 pm)—Amy-Eloise Neale
W Pole Vault finals (5:00 pm)—Kristina Owsinski, Liz Quick
W 400 semis (6:00 pm)—Laura Anuakpado
W 800 semis (6:14 pm)—Brooke Feldmeier
W 10000 finals (7:08 pm)—Izzi Batt-Doyle
W 4 x 400 semis (7:48 pm)—UW (Anuakpado, Darhian Mills, Whitney Diggs, Imani Apostol)

Friday

W Heptathlon (12:30p first event)—Alissa Brooks-Johnson
M 3000 Steeple finals (5:54 pm)—Troy Fraley
M 400 finals (6:32 pm)—Marcus Chambers
M 5000 finals (7:25 pm)—Joe Hardy, John Dressel

Saturday

W Heptathlon (3:00p first event)—Alissa Brooks-Johnson

The ESPN family of networks offers live coverage of the NCAA championships both over-the-air and online each day. 

NOTE:  The NCAA, University of Oregon, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University contributed to this report.

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