FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -
Robby Andrews capped off an undefeated freshman campaign by winning the NCAA Championship in the 800m Saturday evening at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Arkansas’ Randal Tyson Track Center. Andrews becomes Virginia’s second individual national champion in the 800m, as Paul Ereng is the only other Cavalier to accomplish the feat, doing so in 1989.
“This is unbelievable," Andrews said. "There were so many great guys in the field and running this race. I never thought this could happen, but my coaches and dad gave me the confidence I needed. I am so thankful for such a great support crew. It just feels really good.”
Using his dominating kick over the final stretch, Andrews came from behind to narrowly edge Oregon Olympian Andrew Wheating by .01 seconds for the crown, finishing with a time of 1:48.39. Wheating finished runner-up in 1:48.40, while Penn State’s Ryan Foster was third with a time of 1:48.79.
“I was out in Eugene when Wheating ran such a great race at the Olympic trials,” Andrews said after the race. “I’ve been a huge fan since.
“I was just trying to jump him so that he didn’t have time to react; .01 seconds – that’ll do it.”
Andrews automatically advanced to the finals of the 800m by winning his preliminary heat in 1:49.31 yesterday. The 2010 ACC Champion has finished this season undefeated in every race he ran, winning the 800m at the Armory on Feb. 13 and the 600m at the Hokie Invitational. In addition, he was a member of Virginia’s 4x800m relay teams that broke Virginia Tech’s facility record at the Hokie Invite. He also anchored the Cavaliers’ 4x800m relay team to victory at the Millrose Games and won an ACC Championship with UVa’s distance medley relay, running the anchor leg of 1600m.
Andrews also owns Virginia’s indoor freshman record and third fastest mark of all-time in the 800m with a time of 1:48.02. On the all-time list, he ranks third behind Ereng’s collegiate record of 1:44.84 from 1989 and Ben Kurgat’s time of 1:47.31 from 1991.
With a national championship now under his belt, Andrews becomes Virginia’s fourth All-American in the event, joining Kurgat (’91), Ereng (’88, ’89) and Ray Brown as the only Cavaliers who have earned the national honor in the 800m.
“This is unbelievable,” Andrews said. “I’m so thankful for this.”
With Andrews' win, Virginia's men's team finished tied for 20th with 10 points at NCAAs, matching a school-record for points earned at an individual championship. The Cavalier men finished tied for 16th in 1989 with 10 points.
Tonight’s event marks the finale for the Cavaliers’ indoor track and field season. Virginia will open the 2010 outdoor season next weekend, traveling to Fairfax, Va., to compete in the Mason Quadrangular on Saturday.