Just two years into her collegiate track career, Clemson’s Stormy Kendrick has come to the reality that the only place to go for her is down. And that’s a good thing.
A year ago at the Atlantic Coast Conference championships, Kendrick finished second in the 100m and 200m events. Last Saturday at Duke, the Gastonia, N.C., sophomore claimed them for herself as she helped lead the No. 5 Clemson women’s track & field team to a convincing fourth consecutive ACC championship – the program’s second outdoors title in a row.
She wasn’t done there. Kendrick, along with teammates Michaylin Golladay, Misha Morris and Jasmine Edgerson, turned in a 44.27 in the 4x100m relay to win a second consecutive ACC championship in that event, the first time that has happened for Clemson since the 1992 and 1993 seasons. On the day, Clemson won seven event championships and tallied a school-record 202 points.
“It was a really good day for us,” Kendrick said. “I wanted to get as many points as I could for my team as possible. We were going for the [points] record, and I am just so proud of the whole team. Everybody just stepped up.”
That despite the challenging weather the teams faced. Friday was marred by cool and damp conditions. They improved greatly Saturday – as did Clemson’s times – to finish strong.
“It was a difficult championship in the sense you didn’t know what to expect out of the difficult weather that we had for two days,” Kendrick said. “But to see the Tigers come together, on championship day, after getting through the first day, it was really tremendous. Everything seemed to come together in the right spot for.”
And that goes for Kendrick, too. For her performance, she was selected MVP for the ACC Track Championships. The other standout performer for Clemson was April Sinkler, who won the high jump to start the day and was named MVP for field events. It was her second straight outdoor championship in the event and her seventh overall ACC individual title.
Sinkler came through in the clutch, as she cleared 5’8″ on her final attempt to stay alive. With the bar at 5’10.5″, she cleared it on her second attempt while UNC’s Patience Coleman did on her third attempt. Coleman missed three tries at 5’11.5″, so the championship belonged to Sinkler. Indeed, both are hot, but no one hotter than Kendrick.
“And it’s going great for me. The season is still so young, so I am looking forward to what is ahead.”
To appreciate where Kendrick has been, one needs to also look at what she’s done already in what has thus far been a stellar career. Aside from her 4x100m relay championship last season, Kendrick earned all ACC honors in the 100m, outdoor 200m, and 60m on her way to being named Outdoor Freshman-of-the-Year.
Still Kendrick was not sure of her talents until she competed at the IAAF World Junior Athletics Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick. There, she competed in the 200m and won it with a 23.9, her personal best outside of collegiate competition.
“That was a big turning point for me,” said Kendrick. “It was a big confidence booster. I felt like I belonged there with them.”
Kendrick, now, is one of them, and will be among them again this week when she runs the 4×400 and 4×100 at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.
“It’s always a good meet,” said Kendrick. “All the big colleges are there and there is a lot of competition. It prepares us for the regionals and nationals.
“We want to do well and I want to keep getting better. I just want to continue to work hard. I may have the championships and I know I can always get better, drop time and go for the record. That is what I concentrate on — going down lower.”