(Editor’s note: University of Wyoming media release)
LARAMIE, Wyo.– Competing in her first event of the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., junior Ja’la Henderson finished 17th in the long jump with a mark of 20-1 and received Honorable Mention All-America honors. She will compete in the triple jump on Saturday afternoon.
“Tonight was a special night for Wyoming track and field,” associate head track and field coach Quincy Howe said. “It is the first time we have had a Cowgirl in this event in a long time and to be as composed as Ja’la (Henderson) was is amazing. She performed to the best of her ability hitting her season average and falling just short of a personal best.”
Henderson, a native of Dayton, Ohio earned the first All-American performance from a Cowgirl in the long jump since Patricia Miller-Davis earned the award in 1980. She is the first All-American in a field event for the Cowgirls since Andrea Batt in the javelin in 2001. The Cowgirls now have All-Americans in back-to-back seasons, as Audra DeStefano earn All-America honors last year in the Steeplechase.
Henderson fouled on her first jump of the evening before jumping 20-1 in her second attempt. On her third and final attempted she also fouled. Henderson improved from her mark at the NCAA West Preliminaries and also improved in her seed, as she was ranked 20th heading into the event.
“She got to see the conditions and atmosphere of a National Championship tonight,” Howe said. “She got the jitters out of the way and that will help prepare her Saturday. Tomorrow will be a light training day. It will be more of a mental workout going over her list and get things fine-tuned for the triple jump.”
She continues the NCAA Championship on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. with the triple jump. Henderson will attempt to become the first Cowgirl All-American in the event. She is ranked third in the triple jump after winning the NCAA West Prelims with a mark of 44-3.5. She will look to break her school record in the event for the fifth time this season and third meet in the row. The event can be seen on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
Last year, Cowboy Scott Carter leapt 53-3.5 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. Henderson will look to make the same history on Saturday.
“It is the credit to the hard work of our athletes to have jumpers compete at such an elite level,” Howe said. “I preach it to our student athletes; I can navigate, but they have to drive and they really have.”
Stay tuned to GoWyo.com and @wyo_track on twitter for all the information about Henderson in Eugene.