Kalispell’s Troy Fraley placed seventh in the 3,000-meter steeplechase national final at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Friday, earning All-American honors.
Fraley, a redshirt junior at Gonzaga, crossed the line in 8:35.38 at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. He broke his own school record, previously 8:39.30 ran at the prestigious Payton Jordan Invitational. The former Glacier High School runner became 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.
Also at the NCAA nationals meet, Bigfork native Makena Morley, a freshman at Colorado, placed 17th in the women’s 10,000-meter race, clocking 33:58.17.
Flathead graduate Zach Perrin placed 11th in the final of the men’s 5,000-meter run. The junior at Colorado finished in 14:41.50.
Billings sisters Christina and Danielle Aragon placed 11th and 12th, respectively, in the women’s 1,500-meter race. Christina, a freshman at Stanford, finished in 4:19.08, and Danielle, a senior at Notre Dame, clocked 4:19.13.
»»» Click here for results from the meet.
The championship meet concluded an exciting season for Montana’s collegiate athletes.
The 2013 Glacier grad entered the postseason with the top collegiate 3,000-meter steeplechase time in the country this season. At the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 5, he finished second in his heat behind professional runner Brandon Doughty (8:38.69). Fraley was one of the last entries invited into the field of 25 runners at the prestigious Payton Jordan. He 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 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.