Junior Andrew Riley broke his own school record with a time of 13.32 and advanced to the NCAA Championships with a victory in the 110m hurdles.
May 28, 2011
EUGENE, Ore. - The Illinois men's track and field team was a perfect three for three on Saturday at Historic Hayward Field, as the Orange and Blue qualified for the NCAA Championships out of each quarterfinal in which they were entered. The 4x100m relay kicked off the day by advancing to nationals for the second year in row while junior Andrew Riley followed it up by breaking his own school record in the 110m hurdles with a winning time of 13.32. Junior Stanley Azie closed out the day by nabbing the final qualifying spot in the 200m.
"We had a great meet, and I am so proud of these guys," interim head coach Mike Turk said. "They were focused and competed well. We are looking forward to the finals in Des Moines."
The Illini boasted entries in nine events at the NCAA West Preliminary Round and advanced to nationals in over half of them. Illinois qualified in five total events, with the three from Saturday joining Azie (100m) and Wisslead (400m hurdles), who punched their tickets on Friday. The 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held from June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa, at Drake Stadium.
Riley proved to be the best in the west for the second-straight day, tallying the quickest time overall in the quarterfinal and the ninth-fastest mark in collegiate history. The Kingston, Jamaica, native continued his bid for a repeat national title and earned a third-straight appearance at the NCAA Championships. His previous personal best in the event came in the NCAA final at Hayward Field last season when he timed 13.45 to win the title.
"Andrew is such a great competitor," Turk said. "He reset his own school record and put up the ninth-fastest collegiate mark of all-time during an outstanding race."
In the opening heat of the 4x100m relay, the Orange and Blue team of Riley, senior Azeez Shogbuyi, sophomore Josh Zinzer and Azie rolled to the victory with a time of 39.74, clinching a trip to the NCAA Championships for the second season in a row. The squad recorded the fifth-fastest mark of the day and its second quickest on the year.
"The relay ran awesome today," Turk said. "It was a great heat win from lane eight, and that was as good as our handoffs have been all year."
Azie, who will run at nationals in three events, timed 21.18 and finished fourth in the first heat of the 200m. The Bolingbrook, Ill., native was forced to wait out the final two heats in order to see if his mark would be among the top-12 qualifiers. After the final heat, Azie's name appeared on the scoreboard in the 12th and final position.
"Stan was a warrior this week," Turk said. "He closed out a tough weekend by getting to nationals in his final event. It was really close, but he gave a great effort to earn that last spot."
Illinois Saturday Results at NCAA West Preliminary Round
* advanced to NCAA Championships in Des Moines
12. Stanley Azie 21.18*
110m Hurdles (Quarterfinal)
1. Andrew Riley 13.32*