North Raleigh: Sports

North Raleigh News Athlete of the Week, Feb. 14: Lizzie Henshall of Leesville Road gymnastics

Leesville Road’s Lizzy Henshall finished is seen in the Cap-8 tournament in January. She scored a perfect 10 in the balance beam in the state championship meet on Feb. 6.
Leesville Road’s Lizzy Henshall finished is seen in the Cap-8 tournament in January. She scored a perfect 10 in the balance beam in the state championship meet on Feb. 6. newsobserver.com

As children grow up, they are often introduced to a variety of professions and activities through their schools.

Some campuses hosts professionals, who talk to students about their jobs.

This tactic worked on Lizzy Henshall.

When she was in preschool, she said the Tumblebus, a school bus converted into a gym with activities led by instructors inside, came to her school to demonstrate gymnastics. The Leesville Road freshman gave it a try, really enjoyed it and is now a successful gymnast for her high school.

“I just kind of like the feeling,” Henshall said. “Being in the air is kind of like flying. I also like competing, and I like to compete in front of judges under pressure.”

On the state championship gymnastics stage on Feb. 6, Henshall was flawless.

She scored a perfect 10 on the balance beam, the first 10 of her young career. She’s been in competitive gymnastics for six years.

“That was a pretty incredible feeling,” Henshall said of her 10. “It felt like all the hard work I’ve put in just paid off right there.”

She said the key was “having a solid warmup, and then just overall being tight, trying to stick everything.”

Just a couple of weeks before the title meet, Henshall won the Cap-8 Conference’s all-around title. Leesville Road also won the league championship as a team.

Henshall was consistent that day with a 9.55 in the vault, a 9.45 in the bars, a 9.65 in the beam and a 9.5 in the floor exercises.

She tallied a score of 38.15, which she said was her highest in a high school meet.

While the young gymnast posted impressive numbers in the conference, she hopes to improve next season.

“I want to get more consistent vaults, because my scores have been all over the place,” she said.

Henshall is still on her club team and practices five days a week for a total of 20 hours.

She said she’s enjoyed her first high school season.

“It was different being with older girls and competing against more people and people from different schools instead of different gyms,” she said. “I like it.”

Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan

About Henshall

Age: 14

Hometown: Raleigh

School: Leesville Road

Sport: Gymnastics

Fun fact: She babysits as a means to be a regular teenager

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