March 9, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois men's track and field will have two participants this weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championships, as senior Gakologelwang Masheto (400m) and freshman Andrew Riley (60m hurdles) were selections to compete in the championships field, announced tonight.
The NCAA Indoor Championships are hosted by Texas A&M in College Station, Texas and will take place Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14. Both Masheto and Riley will compete in event preliminaries on Friday, with the 60m hurdles scheduled to start at 4:45 p.m. and the 400m at 5:15 p.m. Finals of both events will take place Saturday afternoon.
Masheto is the top seed in the field of 16 runners in the 400m. The Botswana native ran a career-best time of 45.80 last weekend at Iowa State's NCAA qualifier, resetting his own school record from 2007 in the event. The performance was the best in the NCAA this season and also currently ranks number one in the world in 2009. Already a two-time All-American, Masheto will be looking for his third honor on Saturday. He finished fifth in the 400m at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Riley has the third-fastest 60m hurdles time in the country, with a personal-best time of 7.72 ran in taking first in the event at the Big Ten Championships. The Jamaican native also set the Illinois school record with that performance, and is the only freshman in the 14-member hurdles field.
The Illini 4x400m relay of freshman Hendrik Maartens, sophomore Dan Jones, senior Gary Miller and Masheto fell just short of making the championships field. The relay finished the season ranked 12th in the NCAA with a time of 3:07.70, while 11 relays were selected. TCU was the final relay selected with a time of 3:07.50.