Hill Takes 3rd in 1,500 meters; Earns 7th All-America Award of Career
June 9, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa - NC State distance runner Ryan Hill won the seventh All-American award of his Wolfpack running career on Saturday when he finished third in the men's 1,500 at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium.
The junior from Hickory, N.C., finished less than a half-second behind the photo-finish between winner Andrew Bayer of Indiana and second-place Miles Batty of Brigham Young, the collegiate record holder in the event. The top two were separated by .01 seconds, at 3:43.82 and 3:43.83, while Hill crossed the line at 3:44.24 to earn first-team All-American honors.
It's not only Hill's best finish at any championship race in cross country, indoor or outdoor track, it's also the highest finished by any Wolfpack athlete in the 1,500 meters at the national championship meet. Tony Riley had the previous best finish at seventh in 1993.
Hill also finished seventh in the outdoor 5,000 meters as a redshirt freshman in 2010 and fifth at this year's indoor championships in the 3,000 meters. His best finish at the cross country national meet was 12th.
"Throughout his career, Ryan has established himself as one of the premiere distance runners in the nation," said veteran NC State head coach Rollie Geiger. "He put himself in position to win a national championship today, but was just a fraction of a second late on getting there.
"He was going against extremely strong competition with the two athletes ahead of him. But so were they, because Ryan is a very talented runner. He keeps piling up those All-American awards."
Hill's third-place performance earned the Wolfpack men six team points to finish tied with Clemson and Oklahoma for 40th in the national meet. That finish is third among ACC teams, behind Florida State's and Virginia Tech's top 10 finishes. It is State's best team finish since the men tied for 35th in 2007.
Hill now has two first-team All-America awards in outdoor track and field to go with his first- and second-team All-America honors in indoor track and field and his three All-American awards in cross country. He is tied with distance runners Jim Wilkins and Chan Pons and shot putter Bob Medlin for the sixth most indoor and outdoor All-America honors in school history. Ten-time All-American Kevin Braunskill owns the school record.
"Ryan will come back next year and continue climbing up the ladder," Geiger said. "I know he'll have another chance to win a championship. Finishing third this year was quite an accomplishment."
Hill will now prepare to run in the men's 5,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials, which will be held June 21-July 1 in Eugene, Oregon. Qualifying for his event begins on June 25.
Hill's race on the final day of action at the four-day championship meet concluded the Wolfpack's competition. In addition to Hill's performance, senior Andie Cozzarelli of Apex, N.C., won her second consecutive second-team All-American honors with an 11th-place finish in the women's 10,000 meters and sophomore Nathaniel Williams of Newport, N.C., won second-team All-America honors with a 13th-place finish in the men's discus.
"All of our highest finishers at the national meet will return next season," Geiger said. "Next year, we need everyone in the program to improve so we can send even more people to the national meet than we did this year."
Redshirt freshman Tremanisha Taylor participated in both the women's shot put and discus and junior Kris Kornegay-Gober participated in the men's high jump. Three seniors - Sandy Roberts and Bobby Moldovan in the men's 5,000 meters and Brittany Hampton in the women's shot put - all qualified for the championship meet in their final year of eligibility.