Placing in the top 10 in her age group at the USA Track & Fields Nationals competition in past years, freshmen Cayley Hensley, will be a surprising, new threat to competitors as the new track season takes off for high schools in Tucson.
USATF is the governing body and national organization for race walking, track and field and cross-country.
Even though she is just a freshman, Cayley’s competitive drive and hard work has made her a welcomed addition to the Pusch Ridge Christian Academy track team. Taken under the wing of senior Sarah Macdonald, who has five individual state titles, Cayley looks forward to learning from her and being pushed to become better.
Prior to seventh grade, Cayley ran with a USATF league until her dad, Walter Hensley, decided to start a cross-country running team at Pusch Ridge. The team competed against other middle schools in the Tucson area and a year later a track team was added as well. The more Cayley continues to run the more she loves it.
“It’s almost kind of addicting,” said Cayley. “I just love running and you get to meet other cool people who share the same love as running so that’s great as well.”
Three years ago, Cayley got eighth in cross country and sixth in track at USATF nationals. The year after she placed 13th in the 3,000 meter. Even with such accomplishments Cayley remains motivated to be the best that she can. In order for her to stay motivated she makes sure that she has competitions of some sort to look forward to.
“The competitions give me something to run and work hard for,” said Cayley. “The hardest thing about running is staying in tune, especially during the longer races because it’s easy to lose interest, but practice helps.”
Practice for Cayley doesn’t just involve team practices at Pusch Ridge, but in the off-season Cayley says that her brother makes a good running partner but also her black lab dog, every once in a while. Her commitment to running in the off-season is often driven by her self-motivation.
“I have a high expectation for myself,” said Cayley. “It’s the hardest sport I’ve ever done, but I like something hard because I like the feeling of getting tired and seeing how far I can push myself.”
Having only done one meet in the regular season, Cayley isn’t sure what events she will be running yet for this season, but there’s a good chance she will be part of the 4 x 800 meter relay, the 800-meter and the two-mile.