Henlee Haynes is State Champ Who’s the Poster Child For Perseverance

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 11:30 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2023 at 11:41 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Henlee Haynes is currently ranked 4th in the nation in High School Girls wrestling but that ranking didn’t come easy for the poster child of perseverance.

To say it’s been a hard road for Henlee Haynes would be an understatement. Her wrestling career is filled with injuries, setbacks, and misfortunes. But each time, that mountain got a little steeper, Henlee climbed a little higher.

“I won state, unofficial state my freshman year. My first year. The second year, I broke my ankle, wrestled, got second. And then last year I broke my collar bone at Super 32, which is a national event, and then had surgery, came back just enough time to wrestle in districts, regional’s and state. And then I won state,” Haynes said.

For you non-wrestlers out there, winning a state title 6 months after breaking your collar bone is not normal. But, Henlee isn’t your normal wrestler. She’s taken the phrase “I’ll sacrifice blood, sweat and tears”, quite literally.

“I got cleared, I started wrestling immediately on the mat, I did what I could the first day to feel how my collar bone was and then after that I was hitting it 100 percent. I was morning, I did 3 practice a day for a while with my club and then regular practices on top of that,” Haynes stated.

“She’s probably one of the most mentally strong people that I know because of the ability, that she knows she’s been hurt and she comes back. She just has a no quit attitude,” Coach Jeremy LaFountain said.

That’s it. The great tale of Henlee Haynes that’s lead her to a happy senior season right? Wrong, because this past summer at that same dreaded Super 32 event, Henlee dislocated her knee, for the fourth time.

“My first thought was not again,” Haynes said.

If you thought another knee injury was going to stop Ms. Haynes, well clearly you haven’t been paying attention.

“I sat there on the mat for a second I was like, “not again”, and then I went to the trainer and he told me and I was like “okay, what do I have to do to get this fixed now,” Haynes said.

With her physical limitation, Henlee could work on the mental side of her game.

“I’m learning even though I’m not on the mat. I’m at practice, I’m going to the tournaments, I’m watching matches at home. I’m doing what I can because I know when I get back, I’m going to be ready,” Haynes said.

“She wants to be the best, she believes what she’s capable of doing and doesn’t let anyone get in her way,” LaFountain said.

Henlee is not yet able to school girls on the mat, so instead she’s teaching lessons on the sidelines

“The team definitely respects the fact that she’s still a team captain and a leader. The kids know she’s good, whether she’s actually competing or not,” LaFountain stated.

A 2nd place state finish, an unofficial state title and an official state title have proven Henlee to be on the best, but she’s pinning for a little bit of Mosley history with a second ring.

“It would be really cool. Mosley is such a high status sports school and to do something that no one else has done here at Mosley, it would be amazing and I would be very thankful for it,” Haynes expressed.

Another state title is not where her chapter in the history book ends. Henlee has committed to Presbyterian University hoping to write another page or two.

“It’s a D1 program, so I get to be a part of that little bit of history of like, women’s wrestling, D1 program. Because they were the first women’s wrestling team to get a D1 program,” Haynes exclaimed

She’s still got one more season to finish at Mosley, so watch out because 2-time State Champ just has a nice ring to it.

Here’s another cool thing, as a senior, Henlee sports a 4.5 GPA. She’s not just an athlete folks.