NCAA Women’s High Jump — A (Low) Mark For The Ages

How bad were conditions? Alexus Henry became the winner of the first NCAA competition without a 6-footer. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

On a day when the jumping conditions fluctuated between ark-like and merely bad, Alexus Henry relied on her experience and emerged victorious with a winning height, 5-11½ (1.82) that seems unimpressive, unless you were in attendance at Historic Hayward Field.

So bad was the weather—which resulted in the first sub-6-foot winner in meet history—that the modest opening height of 5-8 (1.73) eliminated 5 of the 24 combatants and 5-10 (1.78) sliced an additional 8 from the competition.

Through those first two heights, only 4 had clean records: UC Davis junior Erinn Beattie, Indoor runner up Loretta Blaut, a Cincinnati junior, Penn State senior Megan McCloskey and 3-time Mountain West Conference champ Shelley Spires, an Air Force senior. Sun Belt champ Henry, a UT Arlington junior, shared 6th with last year’s runner-up, favored Tatiana Gusin of Georgia. Blaut and Gusin headed the yearly list at 1.88/6-2, but those marks were achieved in good conditions.

The 11 jumpers at 5-11½ (1.82) took 32 of a maximum possible of 33 attempts and produced only 3 clearances; the winner was clearly Mother Nature. Henry’s second-attempt clearance placed her ahead of Beattie and Blaut, tied for 2nd with third-try clearances.

When 6-¾ (1.85) proved to be too much to ask for in the downpour, Henry took home the first NCAA title by a UTA woman, with her highest clearance outside of a multi-event competition since high school.

“I just had to trust in my technique and try to ignore the conditions,” said the 21-year-old winner, No. 4-rated on our premeet formchart. “I’ve been there before; 4 years ago at the Texas State High School Championships we had a huge storm.” As in ’14, she bested both her competitors and the elements.

The year’s highest collegiate jumper, Logan Boss of Mississippi State, who scaled 6-3½ (1.92) indoors, redshirted the outdoor season.


HIGH JUMP

RESULTS (June 09)

1. *Alexus Henry (UTA) 5-11½ (1.82);

=2. *Erinn Beattie (UCD) 5-11½;

=2. *Loretta Blaut (Cinc) 5-11½;

=4. Megan McCloskey (PennSt) 5-10 (1.78);

=4. Shelley Spires (AF) 5-10;

6. *Zarriea Willis (TxT) 5-10;

7. Tatiana Gusin’ (Ga) 5-10;

=8. Stephanie Ahrens (NbO) 5-10;

=8. *Andrea Stapleton (BYU) 5-10;

=10. **Ellen Ekholm’ (Ky) 5-10;

=10. *Regan Lewis (Ball) 5-10;

=12. *LaTyria Jefferson (Ks) 5-8 (1.73);

=12. **Lissa Labiche’ (SC) 5-8;

=12. *Carly Paul (Brown) 5-8;

=12. ***Ashley Ramacher (Mn) 5-8;

=12. Heta Tuuri’ (Mn) 5-8;

17. **Cyre Virgo (TxT) 5-8;

18. **Lily Lowe (Hi) 5-8;

… nh—*Janae Moffitt (Pur), *Clarissa Cutliff (FlInt), **Dallyssa Huggins (Md), *Kaitlyn Walker (LSU), *Anna Peyton Malizia (Penn), *Lyndsey Lopes (USC). □

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