Riley has momentum in return to NCAAs

Riley has momentum in return to NCAAs

EUGENE, Ore. — Andrew Riley made sure he'll have a chance to defend his NCAA hurdles title.

The Illini junior shattered his own school record in the 110-meter hurdles at Saturday's NCAA West Preliminary Round, advancing to next month's national meet in Des Moines, Iowa. Riley finished in 13.32 seconds, better than the mark of 13.45 in which he won a 2010 NCAA championship.

"Andrew is such a great competitor," interim UI coach Mike Turk said. "He reset his own school record and put up the ninth-fastest collegiate mark of all-time during an outstanding race."

Riley will have company at the NCAA meet on June 8-11. Illinois qualified in three events Saturday and two Friday.

Stanley Azie made it in three events: the 100, 200 and as a member of the 4x100 relay, where he'll be joined by Riley, Azeez Shogbuyi and Josh Zinzer. That foursome advanced for the second consecutive year by winning in 39.74.

"The relay ran awesome today," Turk said. "That was as good as our handoffs have been all year."

Azie was the 12th and final qualifier in the 200.

"Stan was a warrior this week," Turk said. "It was really close, but he gave a great effort to earn that last spot."

Cody Wisslead (400 hurdles) qualified Friday.