I had the opportunity to speak with Emporia State hurdler Andrew Etheridge on Tuesday evening – Etheridge, a true freshman, won the 110-meter hurdles at the NCAA Division II Championships on Saturday in Turlock, Calif., with a time of 14.02 seconds, just 1/1oth of a second faster than the runner-up as the Hornets finished fourth as a team, their best finish in school history. Etheridge, who is 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, also plays safety for the Hornets and is a Wichita Northwest grad.
Sunflower Slate: So what’s life been like since Saturday? Lots of pats on the back, I’m sure.
Andrew Etheridge: It’s been quite a few days and kind of crazy but well worth it.
SS: So you go out to California as the 17th seed … honestly, did you think you could win a national title?
AE: I have a lot of confidence in myself so I’m not going to say I thought I was going to lose … but I definitely didn’t think that I’d ran the type of race that I was capable of all year. And once I made it through the prelims and into the finals I narrowed my focus and kept re-watching my race from the prelims and critiquing what I was doing wrong.
SS: And you won. But not by much. Did you know you were the champ right away?
AE: I knew coming off the last hurdle that it was going to come down to that last sprint and I knew that I’d leaned pretty hard at the end … but I didn’t know that I’d won until my name came up on the board.
SS: Did you just go crazy or what?
AE: Well, yeah, I kind of threw my hands up and then I just hit the ground. I looked up in the stands and I could see my teammates yelling for me.
SS: Who did you call first to tell that you’d won?
AE: Well it was streaming online so my family and my girlfriend and a lot of my friends actually watched, so by the time I got back to my phone it had just completely blown up.
SS: I saw on Twitter that Chris Harper and a lot of other people were giving you shout-outs. Are you on there?
AE: I’m on there as @hurdleboy28 … I could see all the mentions and stuff and that was pretty cool.
SS: How did you celebrate when you got home?
AE: My mom threw me a barbeque yesterday. I’m headed back to Emporia tomorrow to start training for football.
SS: That’s not much of a break.
AE: (Laughing) No, it’s not. But I missed spring football so I’ve got some catching up to do. Right at the end of track season I could kind of feel myself getting back into that football mindset. Coach Higgins (ed. note – ESU football coach Garin Higgins) actually called to congratulate me after I won.
SS: Good luck with football, and congratulations.
AE: Thanks very much.
I’m out. TA