“I like the hard work, I like the pain, and I like to go fast,” says Tabarie Henry, the US Virgin Islands-born Texas A&M University junior, in describing his love for running track. With a personal best of 44.77 secs in the 400m and 20.71 in the 200m, Henry has proven over the last two years that his name should be mentioned as one of the world best quarter-milers.
With much support from his country, Henry competed for his island nation at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he made it through to the semi-finals in the 400 (45.19). The 22-year-old Capricorn then followed up that run with a 45.42-secs performance for 4th place at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. Having run a 2010 season best just over two weeks ago, the former Barton Community College star has his mind on the Big 12 Conference and the NCAAs.
Hot off the track at the 2010 Penn Relays, Henry says, “I am at a good place right now. I am just coming off a slight injury and have been working hard. I was not doing a lot of sprinting due to my short time-off. However, training has been going good, and I ran my season best 45.20 in a very easy and controlled race. I am very confident going into the tail-end of the season.” Henry will now tackle the Big 12 Championships and then the NCAAs.
Commenting on his experience at Penns, Henry found the atmosphere amazing and unforgettable one he’ll not forget. He and his teammates (Tran Howell, Bryan Miller, and Curtis Mitchell) finished in 2nd place in the 4x4 relay (3:05.04) behind Mississippi State University’s team (3:04.92), on which his good friend Dwight Mullings ran. Henry and his teammates dropped and recovered the baton on the final exchange; however, the resolute Henry ran a brilliant anchor leg to pull his team into a close second. “They can have that one,” he said when asked about Mullings having one up on him.
Henry, who ran the 800m when he just started running track in high school, likes running the 400m but said that he wanted to run more 200ms. He believes he can improve 20.71 personal best.
Henry moved to Miami, Florida with his mother when he was six and started doing track at the end of his sophomore year in high school. “I was running in the 55s for the 400m during my sophomore year. During my junior year I got better and was running in the 48s and 49s. At the end of my junior year I ran 48.3.”
He continued to improve, and at the end of senior year he was running in the 47.00. In 2006, after the end of his senior year, Henry realized that people started noticing him when he registered 46.5 at the Nike High School Outdoor Championships. He, however, did not compete in 2007.
In 2008, Henry and his high school coach began searching for a college for him. The name that kept surfacing was Barton County College in Kansas, so his coach contacted Matt Kane, Barton’s head coach, who told Henry that if he were to choose Barton, he (Kane) would make him into one of the best quarter-milers in the USA. Henry laughed at Kane’s idea.
But Henry soon came to realize that Kane’s prediction was inevitable. After all, at Barton, “ain’t nothing to do but track. I was used to seeing tall buildings in Miami, and now I was in Kansas, where there were farms, cows and tornados,” he joked. Barton was a welcome change for him, though, and he found the people quite warm and friendly.
At Barton, Henry’s teammates included Barbadian Ryan Braithwaite and Panamanian Alonso Edwards, the 110m hurdles gold medalist and 200m silver medalist, respectively, at the 2009 Berlin World Championships. Henry himself just missed out on a medal by finishing 4th in the 400m final 45.19 secs.
In May 2009, Tabarie ran his personal best 44.77 at the National Junior College Championships. He recalls: “That day was very hot and I just felt I could run in the 45s. But running a 44.77 was just plain crazy. When I ran it I did not do a lot of speed work. I am being patient [though]; I cannot predict how fast I can run. But I know I can go faster ...”
New on the International Scene
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Henry was new on the international scene and not much was expected of him. However, he made it to the semi-final where he ran 45.19 secs. He recalls that when the 2009 Berlin Championships rolled around, “everyone knew who I was, so I took that experience and ran with it. I felt like I belonged.”
At this point, Henry is enjoying his tenure at Texas A&M (Aggie Land). Though the weather has mood swings, he likes the environment and finds that the people are warm and friendly. He sees some similarity between Kansas and Texas; therefore making the adjustment at A&M was not difficult because his lifestyle was the same as at Barton.
His world includes more than track; it incorporates music -- lots of it. He loves rap, calypso and reggae, and names Beres Hammond as one of his favorite artistes.
And what wouldn’t anyone guess about this island boy who sports locs? “I am the best at playing the video game Call to Duty,” he proclaims. “I am the best on the team. I am very talented at this game. In fact, I think I am the best Call to Duty player in the world.”