In November, C. Henry ’19 signed her National Letter of Intent to join the Yale University Gymnastics Team next fall. Henry signed her NLI at her gym, Elite Gymnastics Academy in Ashland, surrounded by her family, coaches and teammates. We caught up with her via email, asking about her career thus far and learning how Dana Hall School has allowed her to pursue gymnastics as an independent athlete.
How long have you been a gymnast? Have you played any other sports over the years? Played anything for Dana?
I have been doing gymnastics since I was 2 1/2 years old when my mom first took me to tumble tots. Over the years, I have had many injuries and at one stage I thought I should try and turn to diving, which is less strenuous on the body. After a couple of sessions, I decided I really didn’t like it and I definitely preferred to be on land. I always wished I could have done a sport for Dana Hall and definitely missed out on the team camaraderie that you get from that. However, after spending four hours every night at the gym, I really didn’t have time for any other sports.
What does this National Letter of Intent mean to you?
This signing at Yale means everything to me. Not only do I get to compete at a high level with some really good teammates doing the sport I love, but I also get to study at one of the best colleges in the country. I couldn’t have wished for a better outcome.
Aside from Signing Day, what's been your biggest gymnastics accomplishment?
Over the years, there have been many ups and downs due to injuries and struggles I’ve had on various events, but I have three successes that stand out. I became the Level 7 State Champion at 12 years old. That same year, I went to a national competition and came in 2nd place on the floor event and 8th on bars. However, this past year has been the most special as I came 2nd in the state on my favorite event, bars, and then managed to better that at the regional competition and came in 1st in the region, beating competitors from New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Best of all, I get an offer to attend Yale, which is such a great end to my season.
How has Dana Hall's Independent Athlete Program allowed you to continue your gymnastics training despite not offering the sport here?
I am really grateful that Dana Hall gave me the opportunity to become an independent athlete. I know it is important to the School that students are able to compete in school sports, but without the program, I would never have been able to have competed in gymnastics at the levels I have over the years. This past year has been the hardest but also the most rewarding. Having to come back from injuries and compete at a high level in order to generate interest from the Ivy Leagues was extremely difficult. On top of all of this was the pressure of tutoring and having to retake the SATs and thinking that I might never reach my dream of making it into an Ivy League school. I am so happy to have made it.