2012-06-20 / Sports
Andrews is ready to race for spot on Olympic team
Trip to London is on the line for local 800-meter standout
I t was time for Robby Andrews to get back to work. All the excitement of competing in his first track and field Grand Prix event as a professional was behind him as he looked ahead to the Olympic Trials that will begin on June 21 in Eugene, Ore.
At the trials, Andrews will be aiming for a top three finish in the 800-meter run. If he finishes first, second or third, he will earn a spot on the U.S. team that will compete in the Summer Olympics in London.
Andrews, a former Manalapan High School standout and NCAA champion, has also qualified to compete in the 1,500-meter run at the trials.
At the June 9Adidas Grand Prix in New York City, Andrews, who represents Adidas, went up against the best 800-meter runner in the world, Kenya’s David Rudisha, the world record holder and Olympic favorite.
“It was really exciting,” Andrews said of running against Rudisha. “I didn’t know totally what to expect.”
Rudisha came to New York saying he wanted to run 1:42 and he did not disappoint. Rudisha turned in the fastest time ever on U.S. soil, 1:41.74, as he delivered a message to anyone seeking gold in London that it may be better for them to set their sights on silver.
Because Rudisha went out so fast from the start, the race was broken up in two: Rudisha out front pushing for a fast time and everyone else running for second place.
Andrews said it was a break for him because it allowed him to be in a race with everyone else in the field and gave him a chance to test his progress. He finished fifth in 1:45.02, his fastest time this year and second best of his career (PB, 1:44.71) “It wasn’t the greatest result,” Andrews said. “I wanted to close better than I did. Still, I’m really happy. I ran my second best time. I’m really happy where I am at this point of the season. I still made a lot of mistakes. I was a bit indecisive. I’m glad I had the experience. It was good to get all the nerves out.”
Running against Rudisha made the race that much more memorable for Andrews.
“It was awesome to compete against him,” he said.
Andrews was at home with his family in Manalapan the week before the Grand Prix. After running in New York, he returned to his training base in Virginia to make his final preparations for the Olympic Trials.
“There is still work to be done,” he said.
Track & Field News ranked Andrews third at 800 meters in its Olympic Trials predictions and seventh in the 1,500.
Former Colts Neck High School standouts Ashley Higginson and Craig Forys have also qualified for the Olympic Trials, both in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Higginson runs professionally for Saucony, while Forys completed his collegiate career at Michigan this spring by winning the Big 10 title and finishing second at the NCAA Championships. Higginson was ranked fourth and Forys was ranked 10th by Track & Field News.
Another local product, Adam Kuehl, is ranked eighth in the discus heading into the Olympic Trials. Kuehl was a state champion at Monmouth Regional High School in Tinton Falls and a four-time All-American at Arizona. He now competes for Nike.
Freehold High School graduate Justin Frick is a provisional qualifier in the high jump. He is now competing for the Shore Athletic Club after starring at Princeton and at Oregon.