University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore Teghan Henderson (Pickering, Ontario) will head to Terre Haute, Ind., for the 2013 NCAA National Championships to be run Saturday afternoon at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Championships Course in “Cross Country Town, USA”.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet that these runners are the best in the nation,” Henderson said with a slight smile. “It hasn’t even sunk in yet that I won conference.”
Henderson, the 2013 Southern Conference Female Runner of the Year, finished third in the NCAA South Region meet last Friday and was the second of four individual qualifiers to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA. She becomes the fifth female runner from Chattanooga to advance to the national championship joining Shannon Wommack, a three-time qualifier two-time qualifier Amanda Lynch, Kathleen Turchin and Lanni Marchant.
“This means a lot for me to get to go,” Henderson said. “Going into region I was aiming for the Top 20. I didn’t realize that I could be up with those girls. I remember the last mile, I was so scared I was going to get passed. In the last 100 meters, the girl in third passed me and the leader, but I was just happy because I knew that the top four get to go.”
Henderson, a two-time SoCon Runner of the Week and Runner of the Month for September, won all three regular season races she entered including both home meets as well as the Georgia State Invitational. An injury kept her out of the Greater Louisville Classic, but that didn’t stop her from her blow out win at the Southern Conference Championships.
Last year, Henderson finished 22nd at the league championships and earned a spot on the all-freshman team and placed 79th at the region finals. She attributes the difference to offseason training.
“I worked really hard all summer and I made sure not to overdo it,” Henderson said. “I don’t run as many miles as most people and I cross train a lot. I like to run shorter and faster instead of longer and slower.”
The women’s NCAA Cross Country National Championships will run at approximately 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. A webcast of the event as well as live scoring will be available on the cross country schedule page at GoMocs.com.