Athlete of the Week: Madi Henry

Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor

Madi Henry is a sixth-year senior at UTSA on the cross country and track team. Henry finished 28th in C-USA and will participate in the South Central Regional race.

The UTSA cross country team is gearing up for the South Central Regional race on Friday, Nov. 11. The women are taking seven runners after having their best finish at the Conference USA Championships since 2013. Madi Henry is one of the leaders of our women’s team, crossing the line 28th overall, and hopes to have a good race back at the Dale Watts Cross Country Course.
“I definitely just want to have fun and not stress too much about it. I’d really like to break my PR of what I ran at the A&M course last year,” Henry said.

The women’s cross team went from a 12th-place finish last season to sixth this season, just two runners away from fifth place and 16 runners from fourth place. Henry, a transfer from UIW, joined Abbygail Balli, an All-Conference runner. With newcomer Luzaan de Wilt, the team could run together, and they hope to do it again on Friday.

“We’ve been having some really great workouts and been doing a really great job pack-running,” Henry said. “We’ve been talking about our team goals and that we just want to close the gap as much as possible and place high in the region. I think we’ll just do that by running together in the race, kind of what we did at [the] conference.” 

UTSA recently started a pre-Ph.D. pathway which Henry took up, and also had a sixth year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Henry said she has never been a part of a race where she was with a teammate throughout the entire course. Henry is in her sixth year after spending her first five at UIW. Though she had success there, with her current career plan, she had to find a program that UTSA offered.

“I graduated with my MBA in May, so I had to figure out what to do next for my degree … I want to be a professor and researcher someday, so I was looking for programs [that] would help me get into Ph.D. schools,” Henry said. 

As talented as Henry is, she did not plan to run at the collegiate level. However, after running at Texas Relays during her senior year of high school — one of the biggest meets in the state — and talking to who would be her coach at UIW, she realized the opportunity to keep running was just too good to pass on.

“I didn’t even think I was going to run in college until April of my senior year, and I ended up signing to UIW in May,” Henry said. “I never thought I would [run] until Texas Relays my senior year and [I] met Coach Reidel there … he started talking to me about coming on a visit and I just started thinking, ‘I’m really going to miss running and the team dynamic and I don’t know what I’m going to do without running,’” Henry continued.

As a sixth-year senior, Henry’s current stage of life may be different than that of an average student-athlete. She is focused on her Ph.D., has a fiance and runs her own business and blog. 

“I love to travel. Outside of school and running, I love to go to different places. I have been to 12 different countries. Every year I like to go to a new one … I work in the summer, save up money and plan a trip,” Henry said. 

She has her own travel blog where she gives people guides on her trips, gives reviews and other tips. 

“The most recent was when I was in Brazil last year. My favorite place to go to is Peru or Spain,” Henry said. 

Along with her blog, Henry also has her own babysitting business she created due to her passion for kids.

“I really enjoy being around kids so me and some other girls from UIW, my old teammates, started a babysitting business, so we were doing that in the summer. We actually added some of my teammates at UTSA to the business too, so I do a lot of that in my free time,” Henry said.

The New Braunfels native is not new when it comes to gearing up for a race, as she has run competitively for years. Many runners have superstitions or other practices to make sure they are “locked in” mentally, but Henry makes sure to trust herself and her training. 

“I don’t really have anything I do before every race. The main thing I try to do is be calm and I like to tell myself ‘Everything’s going to work out how it’s supposed to. All you can control is your effort and attitude, and that’s really it,’” Henry said. 

Henry still has her eligibility for the spring semester in both indoor and outdoor track and plans to use it here at UTSA. For now, she is focused on her 6000-meter race in College Station. The UTSA men’s and women’s cross-country teams will toe the line on Friday, Nov. 11.