Sunday, May 28, 2017

XULA to compete in 5 events at NAIA national meet

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana will have six entries in five events — the men's triple jump and the women's 400-meter dash, 400 relay, 1,600 relay and long jump — at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships.
The 3-day meet will begin Thursday at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Freshman Ry-Anne Riley will be the busiest of the 10 XULA athletes. She'll compete in the long jump and will run the anchor segment of the 400 relay and the leadoff lap of the 1,600 relay.
"I feel really good about our chances here," XULA coach Joseph Moses said. "We look real fast, and we're healthy. That's the key to doing well at nationals. You can't go into this meet 80- or 85-percent healthy."
The XULA entries:
•  Women's 400 Relay (trials at 2:30 p.m. Thursday; finals at 2:40 p.m. Saturday):  Joining Riley on this team will be Martina WrightAlexis Milton and Janelle JonesJustyce Riggs is the alternate. None of the five is a senior. Wright, Milton, Jones and Riley won the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference championship in this event in 47.25 seconds April 22. Defending champion Indiana Tech is No. 1 this season at 45.23. The Warriors won a year ago in 45.57.
 •  Women's Long Jump (5:30 p.m. Thursday):  Riley (5.57 meters/18 feet, 3 1/4 inches) and Ireyon Keith (5.51/18-1) both qualified for nationals April 7 at the University of Mobile Invitational, then finished 1-2 in this event at the GCAC meet to help the Gold Nuggets win the team title. Wayland Baptist freshman Telecia Briscoe (6.26/20-6 1/2) is the season leader. Defending champion is Mobile's Joniana Brinson, who jumped 5.86/19-2 3/4 last year and is No. 3 in 2017 at 6.06/19-10 3/4.
•  Women's 400 (trials at 3:30 p.m. Friday; finals at 4:30 p.m. Saturday):  Newcomer Ariane Williams set a XULA record of 56.63 April 22 at the GCAC meet. She ranks 17th in the NAIA. GCAC rival SUNO has the top three in this event, including leader Shadae Hilton at 53.50. Teammate and defending champion Orenthia Bennett is No. 2 at 53.98; Bennett won a year ago in 54.44.
•  Women's 1,600 Relay (trials at 7:45 p.m. Friday; finals at 6:15 p.m. Saturday): Clarke Allen will run anchor for the second straight year. She's the only returnee from last year's team that produced an All-America performance (seventh place) at nationals and set a school-record of 3:49.87 in the preliminaries. Williams will take the baton from Riley for the second lap, then hand off to Tramaine Shannon. The alternates are Jones and Milton. XULA is the No. 9 seed after its 3:53.83 March 17 at the Emory Invitational. Wiley is top-seeded at 3:43.71. Carroll (Mont.) won the 2016 title in 3:44.89 and is third-seeded this year at 3:47.54.
•  Men's Triple Jump (1:30 p.m. Saturday):  Keairez Coleman was the GCAC champion this year but did not qualify for nationals until he jumped 14.32/46-11 3/4 at XULA's final meet before nationals, the Southern Miss Open April 28. He ranks 27th nationally. Lindsey Wilson's Goabaone Mosheleketi (15.64/51-3 3/4) is the season leader. The 2016 champion, Eastern Oregon's Eric England (16.13/52-11), is not competing collegiately this season.
"We had a great week of practice after final exams," Moses said. "We're entering nationals with a positive outlook. I'm looking forward to seeing how well we'll do."

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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