WSU’s Henry goes down at NCAA’s, still All-American

June 9, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa — As she took her mark in Friday evening’s women’s 3,000 meter finals at the 2012 NCAA outdoor track and field championships, Weber State’s Amber Henry figured nothing could hold her back; not even a broken clavicle, torn meniscus and bruised femur were going to kept her down.

Turns out, it got worse before it got better.

Henry, a junior from Mountain View, Wyo., and the 2012 Big Sky Conference women’s steeplechase champion, was cruising along at the NCAA meet on Friday but half way through the race, she caught one of the barriers, fell and in the process, dislocated he arm.

Undaunted, Henry used her jersey as a sling for the next lap and caught back up with the pack. Just after that lap, she “popped” the elbow back in place and took off.

Henry ran her slowest time of the year, 10.26.30, and finished 11th, but earned the respect and admiration of not only her fellow competitors, but the fans as well.

“Everybody thought she had broken her arm,” said WSU assistant coach Paul Pilkington. “Everyone kind of gasped when she got it back in place, then cheered her on. What a unbelievably tough competitor.”

Her 11th place finished earned her second team All-America honors. The race was won by Colorado’s Shalaya Kipp, a Salt Lake City native.

WSU sophomored Mike Hardy (So.-Mountain Green, Utah / Morgan HS) finished 14th in the men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase on Thursday, claiming All-America honorable mention status.

Friday’s action had plenty of highs and lows for Utah collegians.

Southern Utah’s Cameron Levins swept the 5,000 and 10,000 races, winning the 5,000 on Friday night in 13:40.05 — including a 54.4 in his final 400 meters.

Levins has scored as many points, 20, as the Texas A&M men and women have combined for. That statistic is proof enough that the Aggies will likely see their streak of sweeping the men’s and women’s team titles end at three years in a row.

“I was just aiming to sprint, basically,” Levins said of his final lap of 54.4 seconds. “I was waiting for someone to make a move on me.”

The 5k/10k double title hadn’t happened since the 2009 season with All-American Galen Rupp did it running for Oregon. Rupp is currently considered one of the top distance runners for the United States and will likely face Levins this summer in London at the 2012 Summer Games.

BYU’s Nachelle Nackie won the women’s 800, beating defending champion Anne Kesselring of Oregon in 2:01.06. Still, Oregon is in position to win its first outdoor title since 1985 on Saturday, while LSU could win a record 15th team championship.

Oregon freshman Lauren Crockett, a former Ogden High standout, finished 17th in the women’s high jump, topping 5-8 3/4.

Utah senior Brianna LeRoy cleared a height 5-8.75, finishing 22nd overall.

Senior Chris Carter concluded his BYU career with an eighth-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles. As a point scorer, Carter is a virtual lock to earn All-America honors.

Carter’s career has now come full circle as the Roy native also earned All-America honors in the same event as a freshman in 2006. He took third that year with a career-best time of 49.19.

Between his freshman and senior seasons, Carter’s career took many turns. His sophomore year he dealt with a stress fracture and a broken bone in his ankle. Carter then served a two-year LDS Church mission in Canada and had surgery and redshirted upon returning home. He showed promise as a junior in 2011 but suffered a broken foot at the Mountain West Conference championships.

“As a freshman he was unbelievable,” BYU coach Mark Robison said. “He won the World Junior Championships and was third at the NCAA Championships. He had a really rough go and I’m really glad he stuck with it. It’s been a frustrating thing for him but he’s a great young man who’s worked hard, competed and done a nice job. I’m really pleased with who he is and how he’s represented our team.”

BYU’s Miles Batty runs in the 1,500 meters today.

The meet concludes today with the LSU and Oregon women tied for first with 40 points apiece. The Florida men lead by eight points over Virginia Tech as they try for their first outdoor title.