May 2, 2015
A mature and confident Robby Andrews anchored the US to 4×800 gold on Saturday here in Nassau, Bahamas.
Andrews, known for his kick in tactical races at the NCAA level while at Virginia, was put on the anchor instead of US #1 Duane Solomon, with the idea being Andrews could unleash his kick in a tactical race.
Instead, after Erik Sowinski blew the race wide open on the second leg with the only sub-1:45 split on the day and Cas Loxsom lengthened it with a 1:45.6 split, Andrews got the baton way out in front of Kenya’s Jeremiah Mutai. What would Andrews do? Run like a pro.
Andrews took it out hard in 50.4, meaning if Mutai was going to try and quickly close the gap like most guys do who are behind on the anchor, Mutai was going to have to go out in a suicidal 48.
That is exactly what happened. Mutai went out in 48.07 and the Bahamian crowd stared to go nuts as he closed the gap on Andrews. Mutai continued to close on the backstretch as the crowd got louder and louder. Time for Andrews to panic? No way.
Andrews said to LRC (in the video below), “I heard Kenya [getting close] on the backstretch and it was music to my ears. I knew how big a lead I had and he must have gone out in 47 or 48 and he was going to be toast the last 100.” Andrews added, “then I tried to gather myself the third 200 and just pop it open the last 100.”
That’s exactly what happened as the US won comfortably over Kenya before Kenya was DQ’d for an illegal exchange on the third leg.
Andrews was able to celebrate his gold with his US teammates. “I’m so proud of the team, but thank you very much [for congratulating me],” he said.
Since returning to college coach Jason Vigilante this year, Robby Andrews’ career is on the upswing after stagnating post-collegiately. When asked whether a change in training or familiarity with Coach Vig was behind his resurgence, Andrews said, “It’s a combination of me becoming more mature as a person, more mature as an athlete, me knowing what I want from my running, from my life. I just connect very well with Vig.”
Andrews was quick to thank (his previous) coach Frank Gagliano, “Coach Gags did so much for me last year I can’t think him enough for mentoring me and for dealing with me as a person.”
We asked Andrews if he was going to stick with the 800 this year or move up to the 1500 as had been talked about. Andrews said with a smile on his face, “You’ll see.” Up next is a 1500 at the Hoka One Occidental meet.
Andrews said when he saw Erik Sowinski take the big lead on leg 2, he knew Cas Loxsom would keep it. Was he getting nervous? “Calm and cool man,” he said. Robby definitely was calm and cool on Saturday night.
More US 4×800 Interviews:
Erik Sowinski and Duane Solomon