Minnesota recruit joins Warrior cross country, track teams

Pictured in back, Waldorf head coach Kendrick Clay. In front, from left, Park Center coach Bruce Smith; Henderson; Henderson’s mother, Yvette and brother, Devin, and Waldorf associate head coach Kelsey Olson.

Park Center Senior High School’s Deontae Henderson is prepared to run cross country and track at Waldorf College.

Henderson, a Minneapolis native and 2014 Park Center graduate, signed a letter of intent with the Warriors last Friday.

“Deontae will be a great addition to both the cross country and track programs,” Waldorf coach Kendrick Clay said. “Deontae is willing to train for any number of races and has the right attitude to come in and excel.”

Henderson earned varsity letters in both cross country and track at Park Center, competing in the two sports for the first time as a senior. In track, he ran the 5,000-meter run, the mile, 800, 400, the 4×800 relay and the 4×400 relay for the Pirates.

Following a successful first year as a dual-sport athlete, Henderson is ready for the next chapter of his career.

“To be able to continue my athletic career at the collegiate level is truly a blessing and reward for all of the hard work and time spent on improving as a student and athlete,” Henderson said. “Hopefully, I’m able to show people that no matter what your circumstance is, if you put the work in, you will be rewarded.”

Henderson is the son of Yvette Henderson. He will pursue a degree in sports management at Waldorf.

The opportunity to continue his athletic career is exciting for Henderson. He said he wanted to attend a small school that will provide him with the necessary tools to be academically successful. Henderson will also see a familiar face on Waldorf’s coaching staff. Warriors associate head coach Kelsey Olson previously coached at Park Center.

“Having a coach on the staff that was one of my high school coaches is pretty cool and comforting because she knows some of my strengths and weaknesses as a runner,” Henderson said.

Clay anticipates that Henderson will add an extra punch for Waldorf once he finds his comfort zone at his new school.

“I view his impact to the program will not be an immediate impact, but one that will occur after he has a full year to train and settle in to college cross country, track and coursework,” Clay said.

Ready to go the distance, Henderson is eager to run for Clay and the Warriors.

“Just speaking with Coach Clay a couple of times, I can tell that he’s really passionate about the sport and dedicated to improving the program,” Henderson said. “I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from someone with his knowledge and passion, so I can become the best I can be.”

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