Mon | Jul 4, 2022

Williams, Young set to clash for NCAA 400m title

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2022 | 12:34 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Stacey Ann Williams
Stacey Ann Williams
Charokee Young
Charokee Young
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Like her Caribbean teammates at the University of Texas, Olympian Stacey Ann Williams is being prepared for the World Championships but her next big 400 metres test is likely to pit her against fellow Jamaican Charokee Young at the NCAA Championships. Texas head coach Edrick Floreal thinks it’s a clash she will win.

Young, the early season world leader at 49.89 seconds, lost to University of Arkansas 400-metre hurdler Britton Wilson at the SouthEastern Conference, 50.45 to 50.05 seconds, but Floreal thinks the NCAA final will see Williams and Young going head-to-head.

“Now, in the case of Wilson, I’m not sure if it’s possible to do the 400m and the 400-metre hurdles, because the NCAA schedule is unforgiving,” the Texas head coach said. Noting that Wilson has run 53.75 seconds, he added, “She’s so much better in the 400-metre hurdles that it would make more sense to do that event because that’s where she can probably run a poor race in and win.”

He continued: “All you really have left is Charokee but what you have to look at is, where are people trending?” he questioned. “If somebody runs 50.6 and then Stacy ran 50.14 by herself in the preliminaries and 50.21 in the final, the goal was to not to run so hard in the preliminaries but she got caught up in her race and forgot and kept running.”

THE IDEAL

Williams opened outdoors at 50.56 and later defended her Big 12 Conference Outdoor title in 50.21. She’s following Floreal’s plan to keep her fresh, “If you run the event every weekend, there’s a burnout stage that comes in and the athletes lose their elasticity, their desire and the happiness with running the event. So, you know, I like for them to beg me to run their event,” he quipped.

“You have to remember there’s preliminaries and final at the NCAA as well. If you can run 50.2 in the prelims, and you can come back and do it again for the final, well, that’s really ideal,” Floreal said.

Young, who attends Texas A&M University, and Williams, finished fifth and sixth at last year’s NCAA, and both were in Tokyo with the Jamaican team.

Williams experienced a let-down after helping Jamaica to seventh place in the 2021 Olympic mixed relay final in Tokyo.“It took a little bit for her to get back but, the things that she’s really good at, paying attention to sleep and recovery, she wasn’t doing a really good job of that but lately, probably about, I’d say maybe a month ago, I assume that the World Championships and things like that have rejuvenated her and so she’s excited again and she’s looking forward to running, but, for a period of time, she was just floating along. But now she’s actually driving towards the finish line,” Floreal said.