Andrew Riley was named the National Track Athlete of the Year on Wednesday.
June 13, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Senior Andrew Riley was named the National Track Athlete of the Year, announced Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as voted by the nation's coaches. Riley garnered the honor four days after his incredible NCAA Championships where he won two national titles (100 and 110m Hurdles), being the first male in NCAA history to win those events in the same year.
"This entire experience has been a shower of blessings," Riley said. "I thank God for the ability he has given me. I've come a long way in trying to be a champion and I always tell myself, it's not where you start but where you end that matters. I am very grateful to be given this title."
The 11-time All-American is the first Illini to earn this accolade, capping off the most outstanding track season of Riley's impressive collegiate career. The Kingston, Jamaica, native also earned the University of Illinois' male Dike Eddleman Athlete of the Year award for the second consecutive year, which is given to the top male athlete in Illinois athletes. The senior also earned the USTFCCCA's Midwest Region Athlete of the Year award.
"This is a well deserved honor for Andrew (Riley)," head coach Mike Turk said. "What he has done is amazing and its great that his accomplishments are being recognized for this award. Andrew has brought a lot of attention to our program through his dedication and determination."
Riley ends his career at Illinois has a four-time NCAA champion, which ties him for the most ever in program history, an 11-time Big Ten champion and was named this year's Big Ten Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships. Riley was also named the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year and 2009 Big Ten Indoor Freshman of the Year. The senior holds five school records including the 60m, 60m hurdles, 100m, 110m hurdles and 4x100m relay.
Riley is the second national athlete of the year from Illinois as Paul Ruggeri captured the Nissen-Emery Award for being the nation's top senior male gymnast.