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The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

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October 26, 2023

Going the extra mile: Henze strides into new leadership position

Rhea Choudhary
Coppell senior cross country runner Henry Henze has been participating in cross country since ninth grade. Henze has stepped into a new role of leadership in the cross country team for the 2023-24 school year.

In the dawn of the morning of a meet on grassy terrain, cross country runners assemble at the starting line in tandem, team camaraderie flowing from one another.

Seconds before the whistle blows, Coppell senior cross country runner Henry Henze looks around him and knows he is exactly where he is supposed to be.

Henze embarked on his cross country journey in seventh grade at Coppell Middle School West. However, rather than stopping at middle school, Henze continued the sport in ninth grade after receiving an email about it in the midst of COVID-19. 

“I feel like starting cross country in middle school doesn’t count, because if you’re not doing football, you’re just doing that,” Henze said. “I didn’t try very hard, but regardless I ran. I decided to do cross country in ninth grade, because they met in the mornings and it didn’t seem dangerous to do during COVID-19.”

Not enjoying running as an activity due to its taxing nature, Henze found it hard to commit to the sport both physically and mentally during his freshman year. However in his sophomore year, he began to test the limits to see how far he could actually go in the sport.

“I realized in my sophomore year that I can actually do something with myself,” Henze said. “I realized that I was getting faster and as a team we could place in state. That’s when I started trying and the sport started getting more fun.”

Coppell senior cross country runner Henry Henze sprints at Buddy Echols Field during morning practice on Sept. 12. Henze has stepped into a new role of leadership in the cross country team for the 2023-24 school year. (Rhea Choudhary)


A part of that breakthrough were Henze’s upperclassmen during his cross country experience. They inspired him to get out of his shell and showcase his potential. 

“All the seniors helped me a lot,” Henze said. “I didn’t feel the need to do the entirety of my runs and in my freshman year I would just run to the woods, sit there and run back. But in my sophomore year, the seniors really started to hype me up and got me into the whole process of running. I definitely would not be the runner I am today if it wasn’t for them.”

One particular senior who Henze looked up to was CHS 2023 graduate and cross country runner Vedanth Bhattacharyya. 

“I learned so much from him about running,” Henze said. “He was a great mentor and was like a second coach to me. When Vedant was about to leave he told me, ‘You know you’re going to have to do what I am doing now next year,and throughout his senior year, he prepared me to be one of the leaders.”

Bhattacharyya’s headship and guidance aided Henze in building himself as a leader for the team during his own senior year. 

“He improved a lot during his junior year and has a lot of commitment to doing things right,” Bhattacharyya said. “In his freshman year, he was a good athlete, but he didn’t have the same kind of drive that he has now. I think our team not doing so well in his sophomore year changed him and was a big growth moment for Henze.”

Not being known as the most verbal person, Henze stepping into the new role of responsibility has propelled him to speak out. 

“Henze is one of our best,” cross country coach Landon Wren said. “He has always been a good runner, but now he is learning how to adjust into that leadership role. We’ve got a lot of young people on the team and Henze does a good job of leading by example. He is not a super vocal guy himself, but he is always up to talking to young runners about what they need to be doing and how they could do it better and does it in a way that isn’t demeaning but rather positive.”

Henze knows what it’s like to be in the shoes of a freshman in cross country and uses that perspective to further instruct his peers to be future leaders as well.

“This past year, I have learned what it takes to be fast,” Henze said. “Using that, I’ve tried my best to help others become fast as well. It’s a realization that I have had that I need to step up and put out what I have learned to others.”

Follow Sahasra (@sahasrachak24) and @CHSCampusNews on X

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About the Contributors
Sahasra Chakilam
Sahasra Chakilam, News Editor

Sahasra is a junior and the news editor of The Sidekick with an unwavering passion for reporting and writing. She’s a hardworking student at Coppell High School by day and an active media enthusiast by night. She loves to be outside, walking along scenic trails teeming with a multitude of wildlife. Otherwise, she’s biking through the roads of her neighborhood, enjoying the bountiful winds in Texas with her fellow friends. 

If not outdoors, she pursues her love of all media, ranging from TV shows to movies to music. She enjoys unwinding with her favorite humorous sitcoms like New Girl or Community or some of her favorite iconic movies, like Mamma Mia and La La Land. At other times, she prefers to broaden her horizons by exploring new movies and sharing her thoughts on them through reviews. You can also often find her at many indie and pop concerts, fully immersing herself in the atmosphere. She has a broad and diverse range of music she loves to listen to, ranging from Lana Del Rey to Tyler the Creator, but she is a big Swiftie at heart.

You can contact her at [email protected] or follow her on 'X' (@sahasrachak24).

Rhea Choudhary
Rhea Choudhary, Staff Writer
Rhea Choudhary is a junior at Coppell High School; she first took a step in D115 in order to pursue photography for The Sidekick. Despite her initial intentions, she is now a second year member, returning as a staff writer. At first, thought she wasn't the best fit for writing, but after deciding to give it a shot, she soon realized that she let her fear keep her from finding what she truly enjoys doing!  As an avid show binger, Rhea’s top three shows include Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls and One Tree Hill, as she can go on for hours talking about any of them. She also loves watching classic Hindi movies (with lots of iconic songs and actors in them), along with consistently enjoying listening to her 24-hour Bollywood music playlist, on a loop. Her favorite food is drunken noodles and sushi, along with loving any sweets that contain milk chocolate or caramel. As a member of HOSA, Rhea hopes to pursue a future career in medicine, specifically to become an oncologist. Rhea has completed her Bharatanatyam arangetram, a solo debut/graduation, and is still a dedicated dancer. As an only child that keeps the volume in her house very high at all times, Rhea’s number one friend is Teddy Graham, her mini goldendoodle. Feel free to reach Rhea at [email protected] or follow her on X @rhea_choud.

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