Yazoo County High School’s track star Jesse Henderson reached his lofty goal of winning a state title in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 15.04 seconds.
Henderson also impressed by placing third in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 42.82 seconds and the triple jump with a jump of 43 feet and 6.5 inches.
Everyone has dreams, and for Henderson, one of the biggest dreams was receiving a medal for his feats on the track field.
He accomplished that dream in an emotional moment as a sophomore on Saturday in Pearl.
“I ran a full second and some faster this year than I did last year,” Henderson said. “Last year my state time was 16.47 and this year was 15.04. When I crossed the finish line, I did shed a few tears. It was an amazing feeling. When I passed the finish line, fourth place was just getting over the last hurdle. It wasn’t a photo finish at all.”
The dream was so monumental for Henderson because of what it took to get there.
To even get on the team was a struggle for Henderson, and once he finally got there, he experienced failure.
The experiences he felt shaped him as a runner.
“I tried out my eighth grade year, but I got put off the team because of my grades,” Henderson said. “My first real season was my ninth grade year. I went to state that year in the 110 meter hurdles. I ran the 300 meter hurdles, but I didn’t qualify for state. I came in fifth that year.”
After failing to capture a title as a freshman, Henderson understood that it would take much more work to earn a title.
A fire burned inside of Henderson, and he pushed himself to the brink, training for one competition after the other, never taking his eye off of the prize.
“I worked and practiced with coach to get my time down,” Henderson said. “Track is my main sport at this point. I go through four or five hurdles in practice. I try to get six strong reps. Then I stretch 16 times on each leg. For the 300 hurdles, I go twice with a five minute break between each. For the triple jump, I get six to eight good jumps. Coach Dobbs put me on this program.”
Henderson reached the pinnacle of success in the track field, so it brings up an important question.
The question has circled Henderson’s head, and he has decided on a very specific goal that will take all of his time, effort and energy.
“This year I’m going to try and practice year-round,” Henderson said. “I hope to reach my accomplishment of beating the 3A state record, which is 13-something. I think I can do it. My time at state was my best time yet.”
LeAndrius Sampson was the other Panther competing in the State Meet, and he finished fourth in the shot put with a throw of 45 feet and 3 inches.