Michael Henske shines in state-qualifying performances

Luka Turanjanin, Sectional Editor

Senior gymnast and diver Michael Henske knows what he does is dangerous. 

“It definitely made me tougher with how many times you can get hurt without serious injury, and having to get up and just prevail through it,” Henske said. 

With his efforts this year during the winter diving season and spring gymnastics season, Henske turned that perseverance into multiple state-qualifying performances. As he said before, even with the many times he’s gotten hurt before, he still learns to prevail through it.

Henske has been a part of the school’s diving team since his sophomore year, and with that, came the drive to be as good of a diver as he can become. Under the guidance of coach Tom Strzewksi, Henske achieved his goal of making it to state; He placed 12th out of a total of 49 competitors.

“I think about how I’ve competed against kids who’ve done this since they were four, and it’s just a big accomplishment,” Henske said. “I wish I had more time just to get better.”

With his success at making it to state, and then landing 12th place out of the 49 total competitors, Henske earned the title of All American Athletic, a title given to outstanding athletes in collegiate and high school sports.

“Last year for diving I did really well, so Coach Tom told me if I worked really hard next year I’d go to state,” Henske said.

Within the past three years of being a part of the dive team at Elk Grove High School, Henske said he ultimately agrees that his efforts to the team subsequently improved his own work ethic.

“If I’m beating kids and going to state it shows how much work I’ve put in in the past three years,” Henske said.

Outside of the dive team, Henske has shined on the gymnastics mats as well. He has been on Elk Grove’s boys gymnastics team since his freshman year, and he qualified once again for state this year after qualifying as a junior. 

“Michael was a leader,” junior Tamerlan Usubakunov said. “He encourages people to learn new skills, like for JV.”

Usubakunov has also been a member of the boys gymnastics team, and he highly praised Henske’s work.

“He has a lot of courage, and no matter what goal he has, he’s going to get it in a short amount of time,” Usubakunov said.

When asked about his plans for life after high school, Henske said that he will attend Southern Illinois University and major in Aviation. Along with that, he will join the University’s diving team.

“It’ll just help me keep a good work ethic,” Henske casually stated.