Cowgirl Long Jumper Named MWC Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week

Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos

Colorado Springs, CO - University of Wyoming track & field star Ja’la Henderson has been named the Mountain West Women’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week for competitions during the first week of the outdoor season, the league office announced Tuesday. Henderson is ranked third in the NCAA for the women’s outdoor long jump after crushing her personal best mark in the event at the Jerry Quiller Classic in Boulder, Colo., on Saturday.

The Cowgirl junior leapt 20 feet, 2.5 inches to win the event at the outdoor season opener hosted by the University of Colorado, moving up from No. 9 to No. 2 on the UW all-time list. It was her eighth victory in the jumps events during the 2017-18 track & field season. Henderson now trails UW record holder Patricia Miller, who also holds the UW women’s indoor long jump record, by just an inch and a half in the outdoor record books. Miller set the program standard in 1980 with a leap of 20-4.

Henderson’s mark currently leads the Mountain West, as she is the only female athlete in the conference to cross the elusive 20-foot barrier in the long jump so far this outdoor season. The Dayton, Ohio, native ranks third in the nation for the event behind only Purdue senior Savannah Carson and Incarnate Word junior Sarea Alexander. She is one of just four women’s jumpers to surpass the 20-foot mark so far this year.

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The honor is the second of the 2017-18 track & field season for Henderson, who also received a weekly accolade from the conference on Feb. 6 after smashing her own UW women’s indoor triple jump record at the Colorado Invitational. She received two All-Mountain West honors after her performance at the 2018 MW indoor championships, where she was crowned the indoor conference champion in the triple jump and took third place in the long jump.

Henderson looks to continue her hot streak as the Pokes travel to the Tom Benich Invitational in Greeley, Colo., on March 31.