The NCAA champion is aiming to make the Olympic team.
(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
University of Virginia junior Robby Andrews, the reigning NCAA 800m champion, has decided to forgo his remaining collegiate eligibility and has signed a professional management contract. Andrews, 20, said in a telephone interview last night from Charlottesville that moving now to the pro ranks gave him the best chance of making the 2012 USA Olympic team.
“When you boil it all down, I have a goal,” said Andrews, who grew up in Manalapan, N.J. ”I still have it, to make the Olympic team. I just didn’t feel my situation at the University of Virginia was going to help in that process.”
Andrews, who has a personal best of 1:44.71 and won the bronze medal at the IAAF World Junior Championships in 2010, said that he would remain enrolled as a student at Virginia and would be coached by the former head coach there, Jason Vigilante, who resigned from the university last November (Andrews had already left the Virginia team late last month). He said that he would continue to train with USA mile record holder Alan Webb, who is also coached by Vigilante, but the duo would continue to use a nearby high school track because the university’s facilities were no longer available to them.
“I believed in him as a high school junior,” Andrews said of Vigilante. ”He said he can make me the best I can be. In my mind, it’s kind of a no brainer to stay with him.”
Ray Flynn of Flynn Sports Management of Gray, Tenn., confirmed by e-mail that he will represent Andrews and now has the task of trying “to convince a shoe company to invest in a 20 year-old college kid,” as Andrews put it.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with Robby Andrews,” Flynn wrote. ”Robby is one of the most talented and exciting American middle distance runners that I have ever seen. He has a great coach in Jason Vigilante and I have great hopes for him.”
Andrews, who studies kinesiology said that he would finish up this semester, and planned to complete his degree at Virginia, although he said that his original five-year schedule was likely to change. However, he said that staying in school was important to him.
“Vig said he won’t coach me unless I’m still in school,” Andrews explained. ”I’m going to finish up this semester credits-wise. I don’t have a plan yet for next year, (but) education is really important to me.”
Andrews did not compete during the indoor season, and said he wasn’t sure when his outdoor campaign would begin. However, he said that he was full of anticipation.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. ”It’s such an exciting time. I’m exited to go to Europe this summer. I’m excited to be sponsored.”