From the Desk of Sean O'Sullivan
Wyoming Athletic Department
SACRAMENTO – Ja’la Henderson was busy on Saturday. She kicked off the day by earning her second-consecutive ticket to the NCAA National Championships in the triple jump. Then, she ran the second leg of the Cowgirl 4x100-meter relay team that punched a ticket to Austin, Texas, for the final meet of the NCAA track & field season.
“It was a great week of competition, and I thought we competed with effort and focus,” said UW head track & field coach Bryan Berryhill. “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”
In the relay, Henderson took the baton from Jerayah Davis, who already earned spots at Nationals in the 100m dash and the long jump, before handing it off to Shayla Howell, who passed it to Jordan Edmonds for the anchor leg. The squad ran a 44.69 to finish fifth in a loaded second heat of the preliminaries. Their time was on the bubble as one of the three fastest non-automatic qualifiers, and they had to wait for the final heat. Once all of the times were in, their mark held up for the final spot to the National Championships.
“’The Squad,’ as I like to call them now, have progressed and improved all year long,” said relays and jumps coach Quincy Howe. “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.”
That race was icing on the cake for Henderson, as she was coming off a third-place performance in the triple jump to earn her second-consecutive trip to Nationals in that event. She saved a season-best leap of 43-6 for this meet, and she finished in third place after entering the meet as the 18th-seeded jumper.
“Ja’la has come into form at absolutely the right time of year,” Howe said. “She has always competed at her best when she competes against the best, and today was no different.”
She is the first Cowgirl to go to back-to-back National Championship meets in the same event since Shauna Smith competed in the 400m hurdles in both 2004 and 2005, winning the national championship in 2005.
Additionally, Jerayah Davis will be the first Cowgirl in history to compete in three events at the same NCAA National Championships, either indoor or outdoor.
This is the first time the Cowgirls have had multiple student-athletes advance to the National Championships since 2005, when Wyoming sent Shauna Smith in the 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay team of Smith, Jessica Fox, Amanda Hopper and Sharon Larrier.
Rounding out the meet for Wyoming, William Nolan placed 39th in the men’s triple jump with a best leap of 47-5.75. Nolan ends his impressive sophomore season with the No. 9 triple jump mark (49-10.5) and No. 10 long jump (24-4.25) marks in Cowboy history.
The NCAA National Championships are held Wednesday through Saturday, June 5-8, in Austin, Texas.