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, from Bridge City, 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. (UTAMavs)