EUGENE, Ore. – Troy Fraley is moving on to the finals at the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
Fraley, who runs for Gonzaga after a standout high school career at Kalispell Glacier, is one of six Montanans running at the NCAA Championships. The junior placed sixth in his preliminary heat of the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. The top five finishers automatically qualified for Friday’s final, but Fraley got through on his time.
Fraley ran in second place much of the race, keeping pace with Edwin Kibichiy of Louisville. Fraley fell to seventh during the final two laps, but – known for his kick – he was able to close the gap down the stretch and grab the sixth-place finish with a time of 8 minutes, 43.08 seconds. Fraley owns Gonzaga’s 3,000-meter steeplechase school record with a time of 8:39.30, and will be the first runner to compete in the national finals in school history.
Kibichiy led Fraley’s heat for most of the race and has the fastest qualifying time of 8:41.07. All seven qualifiers from Fraley’s heat ran faster times than the winner, Benard Keter of Texas Tech, of the first heat.
The 3,000-meter steeplechase final is scheduled for 6:54 p.m. (MST) on Friday on ESPN.
Dani and Christina Aragon, the former Billings Senior runners, will compete in the women’s 1,500-meter run semifinals on Thursday. Dani Aragon runs for Notre Dame and Christina Aragon runs for Stanford.
Makena Morley of Bigfork and Sadi Henderson of Corvallis will also be running on Thursday. Morley, a freshman at Colorado, will run in the 10,000 meters, and Henderson, a sophomore at Boise State, will run in the 800.
Zach Perrin, a Kalispell Flathead alumnus running at Colorado, will run in the 5,000-meter race on Friday.