Butler sets conference record, highlighting day one at Jarvis Scott Open

LUBBOCK, Texas—Sanaria Butler proved once again why she among the top runners in the country, as she set another program record, highlighting a successful day for the Northwestern State track and field teams on day one at the Jarvis Scott Open on Friday.

Butler, a sophomore from Port Arthur, Texas, not only broke the school record, but the Southland Conference record as well for the fastest 400-meter dash with a time of a blistering 52.92, 0.33 seconds faster than the previous top mark of 53.25, set by Natashia Jackson in 2020.

She was only bested by one of the very best in the nation, Colorado’s Abbey Glynn, who burned up the track by clocking a 51.77 to run away with the top spot. Butler was far ahead of third-place finisher Shiean Walters of Abilene Christian, who ran a 54.14.

“Overall, it was a great day,” head coach Mike Heimerman said. “The sprinters put on another show. The throwers competed very well and Tarajh (Hudson) had over a 1.5 meter personal best. It was a great first day. It gives everyone a lot of confidence for Saturday. It was a great day and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

The sensational sophomore now holds both the indoor and outdoor school records in the 400-meter dash.

Butler was one of five Lady Demons in the event and one of three of them to post either a personal best or season best. Finishing ninth out of the 71 participants was Maygan Shaw, who ran a time of 54.63.

Tranasia Jones (55.90) ran a season best to place 25th and Kahliyah Anderson (56.61) posted a personal best to finish 32nd.

The women’s 400-meters highlighted a strong day from the sprinters.

Keontae Gaines has put together a sensational indoor season and the Gaines Train kept rolling in Lubbock.

In the 60-meter dash, Gaines ran a season-best 6.68 in the prelims to finish seventh out of 22 contestants.

Then came the finals in which he bested that mark, racing to a personal-best 6.62 to grab sixth in the event.

The mark is the third-best in school history and top time by someone other than Zachaeus Beard.

“Today was our best day of the year,” associate head coach Adam Pennington said. “All the 400 ladies stole the day. Sanaria did exactly what I expected so no surprise there, but with heavy legs, she goes and sets a personal best in the long jump as well. That is really impressive.”

“It was great to see Kahliyah set a personal record in the 400 and Tranasia broke 56 for the first time ever indoors and runs a personal best herself. We ran great through every event. This is great timing heading into conference. Saturday, we have to go and capitalize off today’s work.”

In the men’s 60-meter qualifying round, three of the five Demons who participated posted a personal best.

Cyrus Jacobs (6.83) placed 28th, Jaysaun Smith (6.86) finished 35th and Mikkel Johansson (6.97) came in 50th in the event, all of whom collected personal bests.

Gaines’ 6.74 was good enough for third and Tavis Wilson (6.83) placed him in 27th.

Running unattached, Beard ran a 6.54 in the 60-meters to win the Olympic Division.

On the women’s side in the 60-meter dash, Sileena Farrell continued a strong season by clocking a personal best 7.51 to place 10th and earn a spot in the prelims, where she finished 24th.

Victoria Byrd ran a 7.64 to place 28th out of 81 and Madison Brown posted a personal best, running a 7.91.

Despite not being set on her block when the starting gun was shot, she ran a season-best 7.42 to finish 13th.

Taj Morris had another tremendous day in the 60-meter hurdles, running an 8.11 in the qualifying round to advance to the prelims, where he posted a personal best time of 8.00.

On the men’s side in the 400-meter dash, Robert Norton ran a season-best 50.98.

In the women’s 60-meter hurdles, Vanessa Balde ran a personal-best time of 8.46 to finish 10th.

“Vanessa was amazing,” Pennington said. “After missing almost two weeks of work she runs a conference lead and a personal best. She is special.”

Korbin Shumate placed 24th with a time of 1:57.21 in the men’s 800-meters and Brian Norton ran a 1:59.00 to set a season best and finish 34th.

In the jumps, Butler went straight from running a conference record in the 400-meter dash and went straight to the long jump section A, where she proceeded to post a personal-best 19-5.25 to place sixth.

A pair of season bests were set in section B from Raven-Symone Jarrett (15-9.75) and Jaslyn Smith (18-1.5).

Randy Kelly placed seventh in the men’s long jump section B, recording a 22-1.75.

Hudson highlighted the throwers, finishing ninth in the weight throw. After fouling on each of his first two throws, he came through in the clutch, tossing a personal-best 55-2.25 to advance to the finals, where he placed ninth.

Ianna Roach continued a nice indoor season, tossing a 52-8.25 to finish sixth in the women’s weight throw.

The teams are back in action to finish off the Jarvis Scott Open on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. with the women’s shot put.

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