By Seth Evans
From March 13
Waynesburg University track and field head coach Chris Hardie took senior Katherine Henderson to Ohio Northern University on March, 4 for the final indoor track & field event of the season before the National Tournament begins a week later in Birmingham.
Despite the Polar Bear Final Qualifier being a formality at this point considering that Henderson was a favorite to qualify for Nationals, this did not take away the approach that her and her head coach have had throughout the season.
“It was important for her, and she was just as aggressive as always,” Hardie said. “I think what she really learned from ONU is that she can have a consistent day and still score high. She doesn’t need school records every time out, and she realized that going into the second half of events at ONU. It was a big learning moment for her.”
Despite this mindset, Henderson still put on another superb performance, including personal bests in the long jump and the 800 meter dash.
Even though Henderson achieved PR’s in two events, Hardie mentioned Henderson’s second half of the event truly stood out, which includes 9.63 seconds in the 60 meter sprint, 1.55 meters in the high jump, and 10.5 meters in the shot put. All five events accumulated to 3,279 points for Henderson, the best performance of the day according to the rankings.
“She knew she had to bring a solid second half effort in order to rise in the ranks and she did it.” Hardie said
With a season that has stood out among the greatest for a Waynesburg athlete, Hardie took some time lately to give greater reflection to what Henderson and her coaches have been able to accomplish over the past two months.
“Coach Bill Lubich and I talk about this a lot. We have both been coaching for a long time, and I don’t know if we have seen a six week stretch as impressive as what Kat just did,” Hardie said. “School record after school record and season best after season best. She just caught fire and didn’t stop. Not only was she at the top of her physical game, but she put it all together emotionally and mentally too. It was a special season, and I am proud of Kat for all that she accomplished.”
While there is still the National Tournament to prepare for, Hardie has already begun to focus on what he sees for Henderson as the outdoor season approaches.
“The outdoor season has a bigger multi-event called the heptathlon,” Hardie said. “She will do all the pentathlon events plus add javelin and the 200m. And instead of this being a one day event, she will have to complete the 7 events in two [back to back] days. That is her main priority this spring, and she will take a week off and then go right into hep training.”
Henderson will be competing at the National Tournament on Friday, March, 10 in Birmingham, Alabama.