Oswego East Student Athlete of the Week: Alexis Henz
Nov 01, 2016 06:29PM ● Published by Zac Sadek
Senior Alexis Henz has running in her blood. Both her mother and father, Brian and Lynn Henz, were distance runners in college, and her father is still active in the sport as an assistant coach at North Central College, which Alexis will attend next fall.
Although genetics have supplied Alexis with the ability to succeed in cross country, her drive and leadership is what separate her from her competition, which is why she is this week’s Oswego East Student Athlete of the Week.
It is not unusual for a child to pick up on the interests of their parents, and Alexis is no different. Beginning in the 6th grade, Alexis began competing competitively at the junior high level. Upon entering high school, she immediately went to work bettering herself as a distance runner for both the cross country and track teams.
Head coach, Lisa Cook, recalls how advanced Alexis was at a young age, saying, “Alexis was thrown into the mix with the older runners because she was physically able to keep up.”
As Alexis matured and improved as a runner, so did her leadership. “By her sophomore year, she was someone who other girls followed and tried to emulate,” says Cook. Her commitment to the sport has seen her win multiple accolades, being a 3-time All-Conference selection, as well as a 4-time Sectional qualifier.
While genetics played a role in Alexis successes, it was her hard work and drive that separated her from her teammates and opponents. Alexis’ mother, Lynn Henz, understands just what it has taken for her daughter to have so much success, saying, “Alexis is very determined and dedicated in everything she does. As a student athlete she has always been able to find the balance between school work and athletics,” says Lynn.
As a 2-time captain of the cross country team, Alexis’ job is to ensure her teammates, especially the underclassman, are prepared and willing to put in the work to be successful. Despite the individual nature of distance running, cross country is very much a team sport.
Seven runners run for each team at an event, and the best score of the top 5 are taken into account for team standings, which means every second counts. Concerned more with group success than her own, Alexis’ favorite part of cross country is in fact the, “team aspect.”
Alexis’ path of distance running will continue when she attends North Central College in the fall of next year. Alexis success in the classroom, a 3.95 G.P.A. and a 26 on the ACT, allowed her the freedom to choose from multiple schools, but she ultimately chose to stay close to home, driven by the added bonus of being coached by her father, Brian Henz.
After college, Alexis plans on using her leadership skills to give back by becoming an early elementary education teacher. Fortunately for Alexis, Oswego East has provided Alexis the opportunity to begin practicing her craft by offering classes such as Early Childhood Education I and II.
Her Early Childhood I teacher, Deborah Burgess, not only believes Alexis has the skills necessary to succeed in early education, but has already begin relying on her skills. “Alexis goes above and beyond to be a leader [with the Little Wolves preschool program]. She often would anticipate a need or a problem that needed solving and would work to positively help those around her,” says Deborah.As the fall season comes to a close, Alexis’ work will not end. Always seeking improvement, she will continue working hard to prepare herself for the upcoming track season, and hoping last the team’s 3rd place finish in state will continue to catapult them as one of the most successful programs at East.
Although Alexis will move on next fall, the leadership she provided and the legacy she leaves behind will not soon be forgotten. Asked what advice she would give to future Wolves, Alexis said, “Get involved because you will have so many more friends through teammates.”
We wish Alexis the best on not only the rest of her senior year, but next year as she competes at the collegiate level.