Antoine Lloyd received Nebraska's 2018 Best Male Athlete Award last Sunday.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

The How and Why Antoine Lloyd Shoots for the Moon

By Randy York

Nebraska 2017-18 Student-Athlete Award Winners

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It took a while for Nebraska’s Antoine Lloyd to understand why it was so important to shoot for the moon so he could land among the stars.

Now that the nationally prominent senior hurdler/sprinter from Kentwood Michigan has reached the top echelon of his collegiate career, it is time to explain the how and the why he is definitively peaking at a perfect time.

Before Lloyd shares the good, bad and ugly of his ride to the top that includes Nebraska’s 2018 Best Male Athlete Award this week at the Lied Center, Lloyd shared with me what motivated him most to change his habits, mindset and overall vision.

“When I got here, I kept thinking about how bad I was in high school,” Lloyd said. “It really is insane to think I started off running track and never even won a heat in the hurdles some years when I was in high school. Now I hold Nebraska’s school record in the 60-meter hurdles and just finished second at the NCAA Indoor Championships.”

Fortunately, Lloyd focused on a complete makeover to reach peak performances. “The growth I’ve had is really a thank you to all the people who held me up and supported me,” he said before adding that he did not want to disappoint anyone.

“My coaches and teammates were definitely my greatest motivation,” Lloyd said before confessing that a Hall-of-Fame coach, who is now retired, helped him jump-start a new batch of dreams that have always been there, but never consistently considered.

Retired Billy Maxwell Delivered Memorable Message

“I think the most memorable lesson I got was from the legendary Billy Maxwell himself,” Lloyd said. “He was always reminding me with the same words – ‘Don’t go around sulking and whining. No one is going to feel sorry for you. Not your teammates, not your parents, and sure as hell, not me!’”

Even in his absence, Billy Maxwell stayed in Antoine Lloyd’s head. “Those words have stayed with me for a while, mostly because Billy always yelled at me while I was lying on the ground from his workouts.”

Simply put, that is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. “It was a life lesson that I took from Billy,” Lloyd said. “I applied it to my life and to competing in track as well. Now, I don’t wait for anyone to give me what I want to go out and get because no one is obligated to do anything for me. I finally learned I had to do it myself.”

Let the record show the transformation Lloyd made to honor Maxwell and to shoot for the moon to finish out his Husker career.

Consider this. Lloyd is the first Husker male athlete named a Big Ten Conference Track and Field Athlete of the Year since Nebraska joined the league.

Lloyd also finished second in the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a school record time of 7.60. He also achieved first-team All-America honors in the event, so he’s peaking at the right time.

Lloyd Topped Akinmoladun’s Nebraska Hurdle Record

We also should point out that Lloyd’s personal record of 7.60 at the NCAA Championships topped the previous Nebraska record of 7.61 by Oladapo Akinmoladun in 2014.

Talk about how razer-thin time clocks are in 60-yard competitions. Consider this – the hurdler who beat Lloyd in the NCAA Championships won the event for a second-straight year with a time of 7.47, a blink-of-the eye difference between the NCAA champion and Lloyd.

If Lloyd was inconsistent earlier in his career, consider this: he competed in seven 60-meter hurdles finals in 2018 and was the top collegiate finisher in all seven races.

Lloyd has come up with an intriguing way to light the fire of every race this season. For someone who resisted unique motivators in the past, he embraced a senior season double dare challenge from his coaches.   

On a mirror in his house, the Economics major has a sign that consistanly inspires him. It defines his No. 1 mindset and describes the only thing that matters in his final season at Nebraska.

Day-by-day, the self-made sign impacts Antoine Lloyd from sunup to sundown.

For the Big Ten Male Indoor Athlete of the Year and 2018 Nebraska Male Athlete of the Year, that’s the pivotal priority for finishing his indoor and outdoor seasons, thanks to a simple three-letter word: W-I-N!

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