How does it feel to win the gold medal at the UIL State Track and Field Meet? “I don’t know how to explain it other than amazing,” said Alexus Henry, Monday. “But I feel like amazing is an understatement of how I felt when I got the gold medal,”

Bridge City High School’s Henry won the gold Friday in Austin in the 3-A division high jump with a leap of 5-08.

“It’s something I can’t explain, it is an awesome feeling.”

Getting to the stadium that day Henry said if felt like it was the first time. “It felt brand new.”

This was actually Henry’s second trip to Austin for the state meet. “It’s just amazing to be there.”

A weather delay was called 12 minutes before Henry was supposed to start jumping Friday according to Coach James Johnson. When the meet continued, Johnson said it was a surreal experience and Henry handled it very well. “There were 16,000 people in the stands.”

Henry said she was nervous the entire time she was jumping.

They started with nine girls in the 3-A High Jump. “After reaching 5-06 only four girls were left,” said Johnson. Henry had her first miss at 5-07, but so did all the other girls, so she was still in first place. She cleared it with her next attempt. There were only two girls left. Henry cleared 5-08, but her opponent couldn’t. Alexus Henry was the new State 3-A Champ in the high jump.

She made three attempts at 5-09, but just couldn’t make it. Coach Johnson said, “I think if she hadn’t been just so elated at having won the state championship, she could have focused a little better.” He feels she will reach 5-09 next year. In fact, his goal for her is to not only defend her title, but to challenge the state record of 5-10.25.

“It’s not an accident that she’s the state champion. She’s worked hard for it.” said Johnson. “She’s a student of the game. She understands all aspects of it. She’s the complete package.”

He has worked with Henry since she was a freshman, but he has had his eye on her since she was in Jr. High. “I knew this girl had tremendous possibilities” He said Coach Jones, Henry’s Jr. High coach kept telling him she had “a good one coming up.”

“When a girl hits 5-08 recruiters start taking notice,” said Johnson. He said there are only four girls from all the classifications in the state that can jump 5-08 and two of those graduated.

Johnson said the Oklahoma recruiter gave him a card as they were leaving and said to contact them as soon as she is officially a senior. There are rules preventing the recruiters from contacting her personally as a junior said Johnson.

She had received letters from many schools before the state meet, but she hadn’t received one from Louisiana State University, which is one of the two schools she is really interested in attending.

“I told her on the way home, not to worry about it, she would be hearing from them now. She got a letter or phone call the next day.”

Next to LSU, the other school Henry is really interested in is A&M. She has already heard from them.

Her future looks bright. Right now she is basking in the glory of her accomplishment, but is not letting it go to her head.

“She is very humble,” said Johnson. He also said she is a very good student academically and is currently 5th in her class. Schools look at that very favorably too.

“I really hope to continue to participate in track at whatever college I end up going to,” said Henry.

“It’s been a wonderful experience coaching her,” said Johnson. “She’s one of the finest young students I’ve ever been around.”

As a senior, she will play volleyball, basketball and continue in track. Besides the high jump, Henry also participates in several other events: the triple jump, open 100, 200 and 4×100.

“The high jump is my baby, that is what I really love to do” she said.

Next year, Henry is hoping to defend her title. In the meantime, she plans on participating in summer track with the Beaumont Track Club and will also be participating in the Bridge City Girls Basketball Camp if it doesn’t conflict with any track meets.

She hasn’t decided which career path she will take yet, but feels she will stay in the athletic realm. “I know I want to be involved with athletes.”

She’s thinking of studying kinesiology in school and seeing where that leads her.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.