Friday, May 26, 2017

Gonzaga's Troy Fraley runs fastest steeple time at NCAA West Regionals...

AUSTIN, Texas—Gonzaga’s Troy Fraley (left/photo courtesy Gonzaga Athletics) won his heat of the men’s 3000 meter steeplechase Friday night at the NCAA West Regionals at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas with the fastest time of the night to become the first male athlete in school history to advance to the NCAA national championships.

Fraley, who entered the meet as the nation’s collegiate leader at 8:39.30, ran near the front for most of his heat, before making a break for it along with Oklahoma’s Dylan Blakenbaker. With the top three in each of the three heats assured of competing in Eugene in two weeks, plus the three fastest on times, Fraley guaranteed himself a spot in the national championship by pulling away from Blakenbaker to take the win in 8:44.99.

Gonzaga coach Pat Tyson said, “I could not be prouder of this (redshirt) junior from Kalispell! Not bad for a kid who paved his way to Eugene by carving out a lane of deep snow last winter so he could chase today’s dream and his dream in two weeks!”

Fraley’s number one ranking was ended at the NCAA East Regionals in Lexington, Kentucky as Louisville’s Edwin Kibichiy ran 8:32.91 to lead five other runners under 8:40.

Washington State’s CJ Allen was a comfortable second in his quarterfinal heat of the men’s 400 hurdles to advance to Eugene for the second straight year, running 49.40, the fourth fastest time of the day, and the third fastest in school history.

Other qualifiers for Eugene Friday included Tacoma’s Marcus Chambers of Oregon, who won his heat of the men’s 400 in 45.03; Olympia native Brooke Feldmeier of Oregon, who ran 2:04.82 to place third in her heat; Newport native Aaron Castle of Arizona, who was a comfortable eighth in the men’s shot put, throwing 61-5 (18.72m); and Washington’s Laura Anuakpado, who snagged the final spot in the women’s 400, running a school record 53.00.

Washington State’s Kiana Davis was the heartbreak story of the day, as she was part of a seven-woman field jumping off for two spots to Eugene after clearing 5-8.5 (1.74m) on her first attempt.

After missing three times at 5-10.5 (1.79m), the seven women had a jump off at 5-8.75 (1.75m), of which five athletes cleared. Of the five remaining athletes, two—Nebraska’s Petra Luteran and Arizona’s Karla Teran cleared 5-9.75 (1.77m) to snag the finals spots to Eugene, leaving Davis in a 3-way tie for 13th place.

One of the big surprises of the day was Federal Way native Hannah Cunliffe of Oregon not starting either the 100 quarterfinal or the 200 first round.  There was no explanation given on Oregon’s web site recapping Friday’s competition.

The NCAA West Regionals conclude Saturday.


In Eugene, University of Washington alum Katie Mackey (above/photo by Howard Lao) finished second in the national section of the women’s 1500 Friday night on the third stop of the IAAF Diamond League tour, the Nike Prefontaine Classic at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Fellow Husky alum Eleanor Fulton was the pace setter for the race, leading Camas native Alexa Efraimson through before stepping off the track.

Efraimson led most of the way before Canada’s Gabriele Stafford and Mackey took over in the last 250, with Stafford getting the win in 4:07.43, and Mackey second in 4:07.79, just short of the world championship standard of 4:07.50. 

Efraimson faded to fifth, running a season best 4:09.03.

Vancouver native Kara Winger finished seventh in the javelin, throwing 202-3 (61.66m), as Tatiana Khaladovich of Belarus won with a best of 217-6 (66.30m).

Celesphine Chespol of Kenya ran the fiastest women’s steeple on American soil, running 8:58.78 to eclipse her own pending world under-20 record of 9:05.70, set earlier this month. In the process, she became the third fastest performer of all time.

Even more impressive was the fact that ran out of her shoe on the penultimate water jump, but had the presence of mind to calmly put it back on.

In that same race, Washington alum Mel Lawrence was tenth in 9:39.32.

Former Olympic champ Brittney Reese (23-0/7.01m) defeated reigning Olympic champ Tianna Bartoletta (22-5/6.83m) in an entertaining long jump, and Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia won the 5000 in 14:25.22.

Complete results of Joan Benoit Samuelson night at the Nike Prefontaine Classic are available here.

The Nike Prefontaine Classic resumes Saturday beginning at 12:40 pm on NBCSN and NBC Sports.

NOTE:  The Prefontaine Classic, the University of Texas, Washington State University, Gonzaga University, and the University of Washington contributed to this report.

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