Henry soars to NCAA high jump crown

Published 9:04 am Monday, June 11, 2018

EUGENE, Ore. – Former Bridge City standout junior Alexus Henry became the first UTA woman ever to win an individual national championship, taking the title in the women’s high jump at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Saturday evening at historic Hayward Field.

Henry was one of three competitors to clear 5-11 ½ (1.82m), but won by virtue of having the fewest misses at the winning height. She cleared that bar on her second attempt, while the other two finalists were successful on their third and final tries.

The event, which began with 24 women, was contested in intermittent rain, including a downpour when the competition reached its final height. Henry, a native of Bridge City, Texas, also got over the bar at 5-8 (1.73m) on her first attempt and 5-10 (1.78m) on her second try.

The finish caps one of the most historic seasons ever by a UTA track and field athlete. Since the calendar turned to 2018, Henry grabbed second team All-America honors at 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships (10th place), won the Sun Belt Conference outdoor title and established school records in four events–the indoor high jump, indoor pentathlon, outdoor high jump and outdoor heptathlon. She currently holds more school records than any athlete in UTA history.

The previous best effort by a UTA woman at an NCAA meet was fourth, earned by Ashely Dorsey in the shot put at the 2002 NCAA Championships. Two Maverick men previously won individual national championships, Gilbert Smith in the long jump (1983) and McClinton Neal in the 400m hurdles (1990).

This was Henry’s second appearance at the NCAA finals. She placed 17th at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships as a freshman.

Henry broke the school’s outdoor high jump record by more than two inches and moved into first place in the NCAA rankings this season with a big performance in late April.

Henry cleared 6-1 ½ (1.78 meters) during the heptathlon at the Bryan Clay Invitational. She is the first UTA female ever to clear the 6-foot mark outdoors. Earlier this season she matched the school standard of 5-11 ¼, which had stood since 1999.

The native of Bridge City, Texas, now holds the solo records in both the indoor (6-1 ¼) and outdoor high jump, as well as the indoor pentathlon mark (3,895 points).

Henry is the 2014 and 2015 Orange Leader Female Athlete of the Year after starring in basketball, volleyball and track for the Lady Cardinals.