DES MOINES, Iowa - University of South Florida junior David Aristil entered the 2011 NCAA Championships with two things in mind, improving on his fifth-place finish from last year and breaking the 50-second barrier he'd been chasing. On Friday at a rain-soaked Drake Stadium, Aristil accomplished both. He battled the elements to clock a 49.94 and finish fourth to claim the second All-America honor of his career.
"I was elated, thanking God I finally got that 49," Aristil said in reference to looking at the board after finishing. "It was a tough race, but I was glad I was able to finish strong. I didn't let the rain bother me too much. I was just focused on my race and didn't want to let that throw me off."
Aristil got off to a solid start, keeping himself with the leaders coming out of the first hurdle.
"I got out harder than usual," said Aristil. "I wanted to keep up with the pace."
At approximately the 200-meter mark, Aristil was in fifth place with third through sixth seemingly up for grabs. He opened up his stride, but according to the Boynton Beach native, got a little wide and ended up too close to the hurdle with about 100 meters left. Fortunately, he was able to correct himself quickly as he prepared for the final barrier.
"I try to skim the last hurdle to get some momentum," explained Aristil. "I wanted to try and close the gap and do my best to finish strong like I usually do."
That strong finish allowed him to move into fourth place and set a career best, becoming the first USF Bull to break 50 seconds.
"I feel like this will propel me to run faster," Aristil added. "I finally got past the 50-second barrier and I felt like I had some left, so I'm looking forward to my next meet."
Aristil will have his chance when he travels to Eugene, Ore. for the USA Track and Field Championships from June 23-26. Last year, he took eighth at the same meet.
In other action, Stephanie Duffy tied for 15th in the pole vault to earn second-team All-America honors. She cleared 13-1.50 on her third attempt, but was unable to get over at 13-5.25. Duffy opened the competition with a first-attempt clearance at 12-9.50.
4. David Aristil, 49.94
T15. Stephanie Duffy, 13-1.50