Andrews Claims Second NCAA Title in 800m
DES MOINES, Iowa – Sophomore Robby Andrews claimed his second NCAA title in the 800m Friday night at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake University. Andrews, the 2010 NCAA Indoor Champion in the 800m, won the title in a personal-best time of 1:44.71, edging UC Irvine’s Charles Jock by four-hundredths of a second for top honors (1:44.75).
“This is probably the biggest win of my career so far,” Andrews said. “With the indoor win in 2010, the way I look at it is anyone can win one, but can you win two? I didn’t even come close last year; Andy [Wheating] won by over a second. So for me to come back from an injury and win here against such a tremendous field, nothing can top that.”
Andrews’ finish set a new Drake Stadium record, replacing Duane Solomon’s time of 1:45.23 from June 25, 2010. It was also one-hundredth of a second shy of Mark Everett’s (Florida) meet record of 1:44.70 from June 1, 1990.
“It was all guts,” Andrews said. “I just ran my heart out. I didn’t come here to lose. I have so much respect for these athletes in the final, but I did not come here to lose.”
Jock took the lead from the beginning and pushed the pace through the first 600 meters. With about 200 meters left, Andrews turned to his trademark kick to push past the field and earn the individual victory.
“I was very nervous about swinging so wide on the last 150 meters,” Andrews said. “I was trying to be third or fourth with 200 meters to go, but I found myself dead last and trying to jockey for seventh. I did not want to be in lane three around the whole curve, but I was trying to catch guys that were 20 meters ahead of me. I just tried to stay calm and believe that it would come.
“Luckily for me, the last couple of steps I looked over and knew that I had it. It was wild and in total slow motion. I tried to play off the crowd; they pushed me through to the finish. Nothing could compare to that.”
With the victory, Andrews becomes the second Cavalier to ever win an NCAA title during the outdoor season, as former Olympic gold medalist Paul Ereng won the 800m in 1988 and 1989. He also joins Ereng as the only two-time All-Americans in the event, while he is the sixth Cavalier to earn multiple All-America honors during the outdoor season.
His new personal-best time of 1:44.71 stands second on Virginia’s all-time records. Ereng holds the record at 1:43.16 from 1989.
Virginia will conclude competition at the 2011 NCAA Championships tomorrow. Junior Morgane Gay will toe the line for the finals of the 1500m at 1:18 p.m. ET, while senior Stephanie Garcia will race the finals of the steeplechase at 1:54 p.m. ET. Both Cavaliers hold the top seed heading into their respective races.
2011 NCAA Champion
Robby Andrew – 800m
Adams Abdulrazaaq – Second Team – 110m Hurdles
Robby Andrews – First Team – 800m
Andy Fahringer – Second Team – Javelin
Stephanie Garcia – First Team – Steeplechase
Morgane Gay – First Team – 1500m
Lyndsay Harper – Second Team – 800m
Brett Johnson – Second Team – 1500m
Ayla Smith – Second Team – 400m Hurdles
Erin Wykoff – Second Team – Discus
Stephanie Garcia – Steeplechase
Anthony Kostelac – 800m
Adams Abdulrazaaq – 110mH, 3rd
Robby Andrews – 1500m, 2nd
Stephanie Garcia – Steeplechase, 1st
Morgane Gay – 1500m, 3rd
Tara Karin – Javelin, 3rd
Anthony Kostelac – 800m, 1st
Maureen Laffan – Hammer, 2nd
Andrew Mearns – Steeplechase, 3rd
Lance Roller – 800m, 2nd