(UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. – Wyoming junior Ja’la Henderson will look to once again rewrite the Cowgirl record book and in the process contend for an NCAA title this week at the NCAA Track in Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Henderson will compete in the long jump on Thursday evening and triple jump on Saturday afternoon.
Henderson will attempt to become the first Cowgirl All-American in the triple jump, while she is looking for the first All-American performance from a Cowgirl in the long jump since Patricia Miller-Davis earned All-America honors in 1980. She is ranked third in the triple jump after the prelims and 20th in the long jump. She will face off against 23 other competitors.
She will open the Championships with the long jump, which is set to kickoff at 6:30 p.m. MT on Thursday. She will then look to break her school record in the triple jump for the fifth time this season and third meet in the row on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. MT. Both those event are available on ESPN and the WatchESPN App. The Championships will also air on ESPN2 on Thursday at 5 p.m. MT and the final day of the event on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Entering the regional meet ranked eighth in the West for the triple jump, the Dayton, Ohio, native leapt 44-3.5 (13.50 meters) on her first attempt to secure a trip to Eugene. The mark pushed her to the top of the leaderboard, and she would be there to stay as the West’s elite jumpers all fell short of her mark.
Henderson’s first collegiate triple jump appearance was just over four months ago. Now, Henderson sits atop the UW all-time top 10 list for the event by more than three feet, and her new personal best mark ranks her as the fourth-best women’s triple jumper in Mountain West women’s outdoor track & field history. Since the conference formed in 1999, only Shanieka Thomas of San Diego State, Kamila Rywelska of BYU, Decontee Kaye of San Diego State and Neidra Covington of TCU have an outdoor triple jump mark better than Henderson’s.
She entered the NCAA West Prelims seeded 34th in the region for the women’s long jump. With NCAA qualifying spots going to just the top 12 finishers in each event, Henderson needed a big mark to advance. She found just that on her first attempt, as her mark of 20-0.5 was just four inches out of second place. She finished eighth punching her ticket to the NCAA’s.
Last year, Cowboy Scott Carter leapt 53 feet, 3.5 inches on his first attempt for the third-best mark in the field, cementing himself as the first Cowboy to become an All-American in the triple jump since his event coach, Quincy Howe, earned the honor in 2002. Howe has also helped Henderson to elite status.
Stay tuned to GoWyo.com and @wyo_track on twitter for all the information about Henderson in Eugene.