Relay and Riley Qualify for NCAA Finals
June 6, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa - On Wednesday at the NCAA Championships, the Illinois men's track and field team qualified for the NCAA final round in a pair of events. The Illini 4x100m relay earned a spot in the event final with a time of 39.00, the third fastest in the Illinois record books while senior Andrew Riley reset his school record in the 100m (10.02) to qualifying for the NCAA finals for the first time in his career.
Riley came out of the blocks in lane six before giving the baton to freshman Brandon Stryganek, who maintained the pace among the leaders. After the second handoff, Zahn gave the Illini the lead before Azie took the stick for the anchor leg and finished just behind heat winner Auburn (38.52). The Orange and Blue, who will run in the final on Saturday at 11:03 a.m., clocked the fourth-fastest time during the semifinal behind Auburn, LSU (38.77), and Florida State (38.81).
"We are really pleased to be back in the 4x100 finals," head coach Mike Turk said. "I think we still have room to improve. We ran to qualify and didn't strain. I know we can run faster in the final."
In the semifinal of the 100m dash, Riley reset the school record for the second-consecutive week with a time of 10.02, which ranked second overall among the eight qualifiers. Riley finished runner-up to Harry Adams (Auburn), whose mark of 9.96 is the fastest qualifying time in NCAA history. Senior Stanley Azie ran out of lane five in the 100m dash and crossed the line with a time of 10.27. The Bolingbrook, Ill., native finished sixth in the third and final heat while his time placed him at 17th overall. Riley will race in the event final on Friday at 5:55 p.m. and try to become the first Illini to win the national title in the 100m since Willie Williams achieved the feat in 1954.
"It's too bad that Stanley (Azie) didn't advance in the 100m. He was in a tough heat and made a mistake mid-race that he just couldn't recover from. Andrew (Riley) was conservative in the start but he was so patient and built a lot of momentum to finish really strong."
Illinois will resume action at the NCAA Championships on Thursday in a trio of events. Azie will run in the semifinal of the 200m at 5:30 p.m., Riley will compete in the semifinal of the 110m hurdles (6:50 p.m.), and senior Kyle Engnell will look to advance in the 3,000m steeplechase (7:25 p.m.). Full results and a recap can be found on fightingillini.com.
Illinois Wednesday Results at NCAA Championships