Ogden • They raise them tough in Wyoming, specifically in the tiny town of Mountain View.
Take Amber Henry, who qualified for this week's NCAA outdoor track and field championships in Des Moines, Iowa, in a relatively new event for the Weber State junior track star the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Henry not only won her heat at the NCAA Regionals, she raced with a broken clavicle and a torn meniscus in her right knee, running down Rebeka Stowe of Kansas at the tape. She follows the example of another Weber State athlete from Mountain View basketball player Kyle Bullinger who played much of the past season recovering from a dislocated elbow.
"She's one of the toughest runners, physically and emotionally, I've ever been around," Weber State coach Paul Pilkington said afterward. "It was quite a performance."
Henry is one of two Wildcats to qualify for nationals, which begin Wednesday and conclude Saturday at Drake University. Mike Hardy also qualified for the steeplechase.
For the uninitiated, the steeplechase features four jarring barrier jumps, as well as a water jump. It is a test of will and form.
Henry knew she could handle the pain.
"I wasn't scared going out there," she said of her regionals performance. "I knew if my knee wasn't going to give out, I was going to make it. I just had to concentrate on each barrier."
Henry, who runs with a strategically taped knee to prevent it from slipping out of place, injured her collarbone during the finals of the 1,500 meters at the Big Sky Conference championships, falling at the finish line to win.
Her knee injury came in practice the week before regionals.
She has the nation's fifth-best steeplechase time: 9 minutes, 53.94 seconds. The top eight times or distances in each event earns All-American honors.
"I know I can be an All-American," Henry said without a hint of arrogance. "I can see myself among the top racers."
All-America status would be quite an accomplishment for someone who took up the event only this past winter.
"If I could get my form down, I knew I could be pretty good," Henry said. "Each time I raced I got better. 'OK, I want to be an All-American.' "
Henry has shown she has the time to do it. And she's certainly tough enough.
Utah athletes competing
Utah • Brianna LeRoy, high jump; Amanda Megaert, 1,500 meters
BYU • Alden Bahr, 10,000 meters; Miles Batty, 1,500 meters; Chris Carter, 400-meter hurdles; Ryan Waite, 800 meters; Jared Ward, 10,000 meters; Jason Hinds, Shaquille Walker, Cade Lindahl, Chris Carter, 4x400-meter relay; Allyson Anderson, Javelin; Lacey Bleazard, 800 meters; Nachelle Mackie, 800 meters
Southern Utah • Cameron Levins, 1,500 meters
Weber State • Amber Henry, 3,000-meter steeplechase; Mike Hardy, 3,000-meter steeplechase
NCAA outdoor track and field
• Wednesday throughSaturday
• Drake Stadium,Des Moines, Iowa