EA grad finds own Olympic success

Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jaylen Henry, left, leads the pack while running track for the Escambia Academy Cougars last spring. Last week Henry reached the semifinals of the Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Baltimore.

Former Escambia Academy football and track stand out Jaylen Henry recently took part in the 2012 USA Track and Field (USATF) Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

The 46th USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships takes place in six, two-year age divisions, with athletes generally falling between the ages of seven and 18.

Henry qualified for the games while running with the Prichard Track and Field Team near Mobile and said he is anxious to put his talents to the test on a bigger stage.

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“I just run with (Prichard’s team) during the summer,” Henry said. “I went to the semi-finals in the 100-meter race and the 200-meter race but lost in the semi-finals.”

Henry said the race was a good race with a lot of fast people competing in it.

“I went up against a lot of the fastest people there,” he said. “I learned about myself that I just need to train harder. I am too old to race in this again or I would do it again. I was both nervous and excited to compete in the race, but I don’t think me being nervous or excited had anything to do with the race.”

According to results on the USA Track and Field (USATF) Website — www.usatf.org —in the 100-meter preliminaries, Henry ran a time of 10.87 to take 22nd place out of 54 runners and advance to the semi-finals.

In the 200-meter preliminaries, Henry ran a time of 22.25 for 14th place out of 54 runners as he also clinched a spot in the semi-finals.

In the semi-finals of the 100-meter race, Henry failed to make it to the finals, as he placed 17th out of 22 runners with a time of 10.89. In the semi-finals of the 200-meter race, Henry finished 23rd with a time of 22.58.

Despite his natural ability on the track, Henry said he began running for the simple purpose of staying in shape for high school football during the off season.

Henry, who left a huge hole in the Cougar’s backfield when he graduated last spring, has committed to play football this fall for the Kilgore Rangers, at a junior college in Kilgore, Texas.

“I am just going to play football and run track in college when I transfer,” Henry said. “One day, I would hope to be able to run in the bigger Olympic games, like the ones going on right now.”

Henry will now begin his collegiate career  playing football at a community college in Kilgore, TX.

Henry said he is ready to begin the next chapter of his athletic career and is greatful for the experiences he has had.
“It’s exciting,” he said.