Riley Wins 100m Dash National TitleJune 9, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa – Senior Andrew Riley capped off an outstanding season by winning the 100m dash national title on Friday evening at the NCAA Championships. The Kingston, Jamaica, native clocked a time of 10.28 to earn the crown at Drake Stadium, giving Illinois its first NCAA Champion in the 100m since 1954 when Willie Williams took home the title.
“I knew I had it,” Riley said. “I knew it would come down to the lean. I perfected the lean and got it this time. I knew Harry Adams and Maurice Mitchell were right here. I might have been behind by eight meters during the race but I remembered my coach said to pump my arms and open those strides and I added my lean and got the win.”
Riley burst off the blocks in lane six and remained in the midst of the leaders until the finish line, where he leaned forward and got the advantage to take the title in 10.28, just two one-hundredths of a second in front of the runner-up Harry Adams of Auburn (10.28). The star-studded field included three athletes which finished nearly hundredths of a second between each other in a photo finish.
“What a great win,” head coach Mike Turk said. “58 years is a long time. That’s a tribute to the great Willie Williams who was the last Illini to win an NCAA 100m title. This is the strongest 100m final field in history. To realize that someone ran 10.09 in the semifinals and didn’t make the final validates the concept.”
Riley’s victory marks the 47th national title in school history and his first 100m NCAA title in his career. With the win, Riley also earned the 10th All-America accolade of his career and is the first three-time NCAA champion at Illinois since 1996 when Marko Koers won the 800m and 1,500m indoor title in 1993 and the 1,500m crown in 1996.
“Andrew showed great focus and confidence,” Turk said. “He wasn’t first out of the blocks but he stayed with it. He was patient, building momentum and had a fantastic finish. I want to thank the staff for all their hard work, especially coach Tonja Buford-Bailey. What a terrific job of developing a national champion.”
Riley will return to Drake Stadium tomorrow to compete in the finals of the 4x100m relay (11:03 a.m.) and the 110m hurdles (12:07 p.m.) Full results and a recap can be found on fightingillini.com, and live updates will be made at twitter.com/IlliniTrackXC.
100m Final Results at NCAA Championships
1. Andrew Riley, Illinois – 10.28 (10.272)
2. Harry Adams, Auburn – 10.28 (10.274)
3. Maurice Mitchell, Florida State – 10.28 (10.277)
4. Darrell Wesh, Virginia Tech – 10.30 (10.291)
5. Marcus Rowland, Auburn – 10.30 (10.298)
6. Kemar Hyman, Florida State – 10.34
7. Charles Silmon, TCU – 10.398. Aaron Ernest, LSU – 10.45