Ja’la Henderson is headed back to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and she did it by setting a school record.
The University of Wyoming senior placed third in the triple jump with a school-record leap of 43 feet, 6 inches during Saturday’s final day of the NCAA West Preliminary in Sacramento, California.
“Ja’la has come into form at absolutely the right time of year,” UW relays and jumps coach Quincy Howe said in a news release from UW Saturday night. “She has always competed at her best when she competes against the best, and today was no different.”
Henderson will compete at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships June 5-8 in Austin, Texas.
Henderson won the triple jump at the NCAA West Preliminary last year. Henderson’s jump Saturday was the top jump in her flight.
Oregon senior Chaquinn Cook won with a jump of 44-4 3/4. Kansas State senior Shardia Lawrence was second (44-1 1/4).
Henderson qualified for nationals in a second event Saturday as she was part of UW’s 4x100 relay that finished 12th with a time of 44.69 seconds. Also on the team was senior Jerayah Davis, freshman Shayla Howell and senior Jordan Edmonds.
The top 12 individuals and relays from the NCAA West Preliminary advance to nationals.
It is the first time the Cowgirls qualified for the national meet in a relay since the 4x400 relay did in 2005.
“’The Squad,’ as I like to call them now have progressed and improved all year long,” Howe said. “They trusted each other wholly, and they trusted me. They are headed to the big show. I’m so proud of what they have done this season, and it’s not over yet.”
Davis qualified for nationals earlier in the meet in the 100-meter dash and long jump.
“It was a great week of competition, and I thought we competed with effort and focus,” UW coach Bryan Berryhill said. “To get student-athletes to the NCAA Finals in four different events is an amazing accomplishment. They should be very proud of how they competed this week, and I’m excited to see what they can accomplish in Austin”
Senior William Nolan, a Cheyenne South graduate, finished 39th in the men’s triple jump Saturday night (47-5 3/4). Nolan entered the event seeded 34th.