Henderson Sets UW Record in Triple Jump, Advances to NCAA Finals
SACRAMENTO – Wyoming junior Ja'la Henderson set a school record for the fourth time this season with a leap of 44 feet, 3 1/2 inches to win the triple jump at the NCAA Track and Field West Preliminary on Saturday, advancing to the NCAA Championships in a second event.
“With Ja’la’s performance, it just shows how much room she has to grow in the event,” UW associate head coach and former jumps star Quincy Howe said Saturday night. “The accomplishment of winning the West regional shows her resolve and her ability to step up her desire to win in the midst of challenges from the best (jumpers) in the entire nation.”
At the NCAA Championships in June, Henderson will attempt to become the first Cowgirl All-American in the long jump since Patricia Miller-Davis in 1980.
Henderson also advanced in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, a half inch during Thursday's session, finishing eighth in the event. The top 12 finishers in each event advance to the championships in Eugene, Ore.
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.
While Henderson stole the show on Saturday evening, fellow junior Emelda Malm-Annan showed she has serious potential to qualify for the NCAA Championships during her senior season. Malm-Annan matched her personal best with a mark of 198-6 in the women’s hammer throw, taking 18th overall and missing qualification to the national meet by less than three feet. Wyoming assistant coach Carrie Lane has confidence that Malm-Annan has not reached her ceiling yet.
“Overall, she was much more consistent this season and absolutely has the capability to qualify for the NCAA finals next year,” Lane said Saturday.
The third Wyoming student-athlete in action on Saturday was sophomore Daniel Hintz, who competed in the quarterfinal of the men’s 1,500 meters. An incredible sophomore campaign came to an end for Hintz, who took 21st overall with a time of 3 minutes, 48.62 seconds. After a breakthrough season, Hintz will be back next year with his eyes on the UW program record for the 1,500 meters and better yet, a trip to the NCAA Championships.