Senior Andrew Riley made history becoming the first male athlete in the NCAA to win the 100m and 110m hurdles in the same year.
June 9, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa - Senior Andrew Riley won his fourth career national title on Saturday, as he raced to victory in the 110m hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a time of 13.53. With his national title yesterday in the 100m as well as the victory today, Riley becomes the first male athlete in the NCAA to win the 100m and 110m hurdles in the same year. The Illini finish the 2012 national championships tied for 11th place with 20 points, the highest finish for the Orange and Blue since 1988 when they finished seventh.
"When I started out this year it was something I wanted to achieve," Riley said. "I always set high goals for myself. This year I really wanted to be the first to do the double. A lot of hurdlers don't like to do the track work. I like the track work. It takes different technique to do the double."
Riley ran the hurdles final in lane five after qualifying with the second-fastest time during prelims of 13.30. Riley burst out of the blocks into a substantial head-wind of 3.5 and cleared the first five hurdles. He carried that advantage through the next few hurdles and through the finish line, holding off runner-up Wayne Davis II (13.60) of Texas A&M.
"We are so proud of Andrew (Riley) and what he has done for our program and the University of Illinois," head coach Mike Turk said. "He is not only a champion on the track but has always displayed the utmost respect for his coaches, teammates and competitors. What he did at the national championships this year is a pretty special performance."
"It was amazing," coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "Anytime anyone can make history, especially the way he handled himself, it's something special. He had some ups and downs at the national meet in his career, getting beat a couple of times, so it was really big for him to come back his senior year. To win both is unbelievable and is huge for Illinois. He did something that no one else in the NCAA has done, so it's big for Illinois. He had class the entire time. He's one of the most disciplined athletes I know, it's deserving. It's very rewarding."
The win marks Riley's fourth NCAA title in his career, which ties him for the most ever in program history. The Kingston, Jamaica, native, now ties Charleton Ehizuelen and Herb McKenley with four national titles on their resume. The win is the 48th national title in school history and his second 110m hurdles NCAA title in his career, as he won the crown in 2010. He's also the first male athlete in Illini history to win two national titles in the same year under the current NCAA sanctioned events.
"He got out of the blocks great and it looked like he had a little trouble over the second hurdle," Turk said. "I think he learned from his mistake at the indoor championships because he kept his focus and composure. From the fourth hurdle on, there was no doubt in my mind, he was just too determined."
The 4x100m relay team competed out of lane seven as Riley flew out of the blocks on the first leg and handed off to freshman Brandon Stryganek, who kept the Illini among the front of the pack. Stryganek gave the baton to freshman DJ Zahn as he maintained the pace, however the Orange and Blue dropped the last exchange with Zahn and senior Stanley Azie and did not finish the race. LSU won the national title with a time of 38.38.
"It was crushing to our squad," Turk said. "We were in good position and we just didn't execute. It's really a shame because everyone worked so hard and it means a lot. Like I told our guys, from failure and disappointment comes challenge and opportunity. We'll work harder than ever to get back and prove ourselves in the final next year. Overall we fell short of our team goal of finishing in the top but I couldn't be more proud of our team. I guess the bar is set for next years team to make a run at the top ten."
Up Next: The Illini will send athletes to the USATF National Junior Championships next weekend in Bloomington, Ind., Three Illini athletes will compete with Nathan Loe in the hammer throw, Brandon Stryganek in the 100m and 200m, Joe McAsey in the 800m and Brandon Tanthavong in the triple jump.
NCAA Championships Top-11 Team Scores
1. Florida, 50
2. LSU, 48
3. Texas A&M, 40
4. Florida State, 38
5. Virginia Tech, 33
6. Auburn, 30
7. Arizona, 27
8. Arkansas, 26
9. Texas, 22
9. Oregon, 22
11. USC, 20
11. Illinois, 20
11. Southern Utah, 20
11. Nebraska, 20
11. Indiana, 20
Illinois Saturday Results at NCAA Championships
110m Hurdles (FINAL)
1. Andrew Riley, 13.53 * 10 team points