Bridge City’s Henry going for back-to-back gold
By Gabriel Pruett
The News Sports Writer
BRIDGE CITY — Bridge City senior Alexus Henry has tasted gold and now she wants more.
Henry is set to defend her state championship this Friday in the Class 4A high jump at the UIL Track and Field Championships held at the University of Texas in Austin.
She won the 2014 high jump gold with a leap of 5-08, an inch better than Morgan McKee’ of Midland Greenwood’s jump of 5-07.
“I feel really prepared this year,” Henry said. “I am a lot less nervous than previous years because of the experience from the last two years.”
Henry reached the state meet as a sophomore in 2013. She finished in sixth with a jump of 5-04.
This season has seen Henry go far and beyond the mark even set in last year’s state meet.
Twice in 2015 Henry has hit 6-00, better than the record set for her conference back in 1996 when Laci Lewis of Robinson jumped 5-10.25. Henry has been told her 6-foot jumps will carry over and become the new record in Class 4A. Lewis set the mark when the schools were listed in Class 3A.
“I was nervous last year and even less nervous than I was going in as a sophomore,” the University of Texas-Arlington signee said. “There are always going to be nerves, especially this year being the last time I will compete at this level.”
Henry qualified for state with a jump of 5-08 at Class 4A Region III meet held two weeks ago.
And, if one event was not enough, Henry competes Friday in two events.
She also won the triple jump at the regional meet with a leap of 38-06.00.
So not only does she go for back-to-back gold medals, Henry could leave Austin as a double gold winner.
“Two gold medals is the goal,” Henry added. “I am not going to Austin big-headed though and just expecting it will happen. During any track meet anybody can have a bad day.
“My main goal for the year was to build more strength to defend my medal in the high jump. It is always hard to win an event in back-to-back years.”
Triple jump is nothing new to Henry, this is just the first time she has made it past the regional meet in the event.
“I always had the marks to make it to Austin in the triple,” Henry added. “Finally this year I competed at regionals like I had been in the event all year long. It felt good to go foward and not go backwards in the event at regionals.”
One thing is for certain, Henry’s neck could be sore come Saturday if she is wearing three gold medals. It could make up for the pressure she took off herself by signing with UT-A earlier this school year.
“It was important to get the college decision out the way,” Henry said. “That is why I chose to do the early signing period. I didn’t want to get into track season and at the end of the year and still be deciding where to go to school. It lifted a lot of weight off my shoulders.”
Maybe that is the reason Henry is able to jump higher than anyone at her level. If she does it again, her dream of back-to-back state championships will come true.