Channing Hensley knew she could shoot a 41 or better.
That’s what used to be North Raleigh Christian Academy’s golf record.
Hensley, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, shot a 38 last week to break the school record as the medalist in a 135-181 team win over St. David’s School.
“We put up a chart and it had all the scores from the past season,” said Hensley, a Knights sophomore. “I knew (what the record was) going into the season, so I knew before the season started that I wanted to break the record, because I knew I could. I knew that was definitely within my range.”
While her 38 was exceptional, it’s wasn’t her best on the year.
Hensley said she shot a 36 in a practice round.
She’s only been golfing for two years. After she broke her toe playing volleyball, she said her father encouraged her to try a new sport.
“It was different from all other sports,” Hensley said. “I could see myself getting better quicker, which is what I like. It just kind of clicked. I like competing a lot, like regularly. (Golf is) somehow an individual and a team sport.”
Hensley’s performance against St. David’s not only helped her reach an early season goal, it helped the Knights set a team record, at least at the time. The all-time team record was 141, set in 2013. The St. David’s score of 135 beat it, but the Knights defeated Greensboro Day 129-166 for a record low.
Last year, Hensley said, the team usually finished in the 160s.
“We’ve always had a pretty small team,” she said. “Last year, there were only four of us and this year, it’s six, so I guess we really get to know each other very well.”
Hensley and co-captain Emily Brubaker, an eighth grader, play in tournaments year-round and have aspirations to play in college. Hensley has an upcoming meeting with the University of Tampa (Fla.) for an unofficial golf visit.
She hopes to make the all-conference team and play in the state finals this year.
“I think it’s all between the ears,” Hensley said of the game’s challenges. “I learned to not put a ton of pressure on myself when I was playing for fun back then. When I got more competitive, I’d put pressure on myself, but I learned how to turn that nervousness into make me do better, like motivation.”
Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan
About the Athlete of the Week
Name: Channing Hensley
Hometown: Wake Forest
School: North Raleigh Christian Academy
Fun fact: She sings En Vouge’s “Free Your Mind” in her head during tournaments.