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Poly's Will Henderson Ends Senior Year With Five State Titles In Track

June 9, 2017
It would be difficult to find an athlete in the Baltimore area who had a better senior year than Poly's Will Henderson.

Henderson, who competes in indoor and outdoor track, had outstanding seasons in both. He finished with five Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association 3A state championships, with the first two coming in the winter for the 55 hurdles and high jump. Henderson followed with three MPSSAA 3A state titles in the spring when he took first place in the long jump, 100-meter dash and 100 hurdles despite competing with a sprained ankle.

Combining his senior year with what he did as a junior -- winning the 55-meter dash at the indoor championships and long jump at the outdoor championships -- Henderson has put together a impressive and unique resume that includes seven 3A state championships in six different events.

"Ending with seven state championships in six different events is incredible," Henderson said. "I'm really happy at the end of my senior Maryland state career."

Henderson grew up around the track.

His father, Joe Henderson, was a standout at Milford Mill High School and competed for Towson University. He eventually coached at Towson, where the younger Henderson recalls spending time around the team when he was a child. 

Will Henderson caught the track bug and began competing at 11. Entering high school, Henderson's plan was to compete in distance running. As time wore on, it became apparent he may have the ability to compete in other events, too. 

"At the start of my sophomore year was when I began transitioning because I got taller and stronger," Henderson said. "It was a transition I had to go through, but eventually I got into my swing. I just had to do a lot of different exercises to work different muscle groups. For me, it was more about just changing my body, and once that happened, everything was night and day."

At that time, Henderson also began to compete more seriously at national competitions, which he started participating in during middle school.

Henderson made significant impacts at those meets as a junior, specifically in the long jump. He finished second in that event at the New Balance Nationals Indoor in New York City and third at the Penn Relays outdoor event at the University of Pennsylvania that year.

While happy with how he performed in those events, the was motivated to do better as a senior.

"The two big goals for me this year was to get my ring at nationals and to get my watch at Penn because I could've won both as a junior," Henderson said. 

Henderson was able to achieve those goals in the long jump, winning at New Balance with a jump of 7.53 meters. He won the Penn Relays with 7.68 meters. 

Henderson also excelled in the 55-meter run at the Millrose Games in New York City. He completed the race in 6.31 seconds, a Millrose Games record. The time also tied for the fastest of the 2017 indoor track season nationally, according to

As far as MPSSAA state titles were concerned, Henderson's goal was to win as many as possible. It required a lot of multitasking at meets, which was evident at this year's MPSSAA outdoor state finals.

"I was high jumping and running at the same time, but I do my best to focus on one thing at a time and not get caught up in doing everything," Henderson said. "That's the key to doing different events -- being able to focus on one thing at a time."

His focus was definitely tested at this year's MPSSAA indoor championship meet.

Henderson false-started as he attempted to defend his 55-meter dash state championship. It was a frustrating moment for Henderson, who was hoping to set a state record in that race.

Henderson didn't allow it affect him though, as he displayed the maturity to shift his attention back to the high jump, which he went on to win.

"I knew a lot of people were looking at me and how I'd react," Henderson said. "It was tough, but I did my best to shrug it off because I was representing both my family and my school."

Henderson will attend Penn State, where he will compete in the long jump for the Nittany Lions. He hasn't given up on continuing what he did in high school, though, and plans to compete in the hurdles and sprint at some point during his collegiate career.

"I'm excited to go to college for a lot of reasons, but especially to train and compete with some of the best athletes in the country," Henderson said. "Overall, I want my college experience to be wonderful, and hopefully I have the same success I did in high school."