GULF SHORES, Ala. — Ariane Williams will be as busy Saturday as she was Friday.
The Xavier University of Louisiana sophomore qualified for finals in two events at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. The Gonzales, La., resident — a graduate of East Ascension High School and a transfer from NCAA Division I Southeastern Louisiana — recorded the seventh-fastest time in the women’s 400-meter dash, 57.31 seconds. Then she helped the 1,600 relay team qualify in a school-record 3:49.76.
Ry-Anne Riley, Tramaine Shannon and Clarke Allen were the other relay runners.
“It was a pretty good day,” Williams said. “It was better than I thought it would be. I didn’t think my time was good enough in the 400, but I got in. I can definitely run a faster time tomorrow, run a better pace.”
The Gold Nuggets broke the school record of 3:49.87 set in the 2016 preliminaries. Allen, a junior from Mendenhall, Miss., and a graduate of Mendenhall High School, ran anchor on that team, too.
XULA in the finals will chase city and Gulf Coast Athletic Conference rival SUNO, which posted the fastest times in both events. Williams was about 2 1/2 seconds behind Shadae Hylton of the Lady Knights in the 400, and the Nuggets were about five seconds behind SUNO in the relay.
“It’s going to be neck-and-neck tomorrow,” Williams said. “I’ve got faith in my girls. We can do this.”
For Williams, recovery from Friday will consist of pasta, water, an ice bath and 8-9 hours of sleep. “I’ll be good to go,” she said.
The 400 final will start at 4:30 p.m., followed by the relay at 6:15. Also competing for XULA will be sophomore Keairez Coleman in the men’s triple jump at 1:30 p.m.
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