When Henry Stark joined the cross country team in 6th grade and the track & field team in 7th grade, he was just merely happy to be a part of the team. His older brother George was very talented within these sports and Stark joined as a way to follow in his footsteps as he looked up to George. The love for the sport, however, was not there.
Running with George had always been a positive experience and they enjoyed the camaraderie, but George was miles ahead, figuratively and literally, in terms of training and results. During Stark’s sophomore year is when it all changed. “I got to the level in which I could run alongside him. It gave me the boost of confidence knowing my brother had my back and I had his as we continued to push each other on the track,” Stark recalls. Stark has only pushed even harder and excelled rapidly in the years since.
Currently, Stark is ranked first in the Florida High School Athletic Association’s (FHSAA) Class 1A and overall sixth in the state, regardless of classification, during his senior season of cross country. Recently, Stark broke Palmer Trinity’s cross country 5k record with a time of 15:05.95. Varsity Cross Country and Track & Field Head Coach Tammy King is proud of what she sees in Stark and where his mindset is at. “Henry is extremely focused and dedicated. He will do anything he can to finish out his high school career in the best possible standing.” Additionally, Stark is happy to have the responsibility to help lead the team, believing it is a great honor and it drives him to leave everything out on the course or track. He hopes younger athletes stay true and diligent to their sport because like him, “goals are achievable as long as you work hard enough to reach them.”
When he is not training or competing, Stark ironically likes to be as stationary as possible as he enjoys relaxing, playing video games, and listening to music. You will also find him volunteering at Middle School meets and at local summer camps. His favorite movie is Bullet Train and favorite artist is 21 Savage. Stark also wants everyone to know that he actually has two older brothers and an older sister, but that the two oldest live across the world. He also excitedly claims that chicken parm is his favorite meal because “who wouldn’t love something that is essentially pizza on fried chicken.”
This semester, Stark will plan to apply to a variety of schools such as the University of
Michigan, LSU, and Ole Miss, but will wait to see where running will take him in his next stage.
Be sure to come out and support Stark and the rest of the Varsity Cross Country team as Palmer Trinity hosts the FHSAA District meet on November 2nd.