I thought I would move up the interview I did with Kendall Spencer, this past January, following his three victories last night at the CCS meet in the 100, 200 and LJ. Spencer also led San Mateo HS to a 2nd place finish as a team with the 30 point he accumulated in his three victories.
Also, here are a couple of articles from today's papers covering his exploits from yesterday.
San Mateo's Spencer is 3-time winner (SF Chronicle)
Spencer takes three CCS events (San Mateo County Times)
Today we chat with San Mateo senior, Kendall Spencer who had quite a season last year. Largely unknown to most track fans before the season, Spencer won the 100m. and long jump and finished 2nd in the 200m. at the '08 CCS meet. His victory in the long jump was with a margin of victory of close to a foot over the 2nd. place finisher and an impressive 23'6.5" mark. With his state meet experience last year, Spencer is gunning for more this year as you will see by his goals for this season.
1) What sports have you played?
Wow that's a big one. I've competed in :Taekwondo, wrestling, football, track, hip=hop dance .
2) How did you decide to get involved in Track and Field?
Well track has always been on my mind. I ran in middle school and when I got to high school I just wrestled and played football up until my sophomore year. When my friend got injured and Coach Riley saw me practicing and asked if I had thought about the program.
3) What was the reason you decided to give up football?
Giving up football during my senior year was the hardest sacrifice I've ever made but a lot of my coaches, mentors and parents told me that I should go and perfect my gift. Despite how stubborn I was at first, I decided to roll with it and during that time I focused on things like academics, strength training etc.
4) When did you first realize that you could be pretty good in track?
Let's see the first...haha I'd say serra top 7 at the end of my sophomore year. I hadn't had any previous training on jumps and i popped up to 20ft and then in the100m I didn't use blocks because i didn't know how and I won the race which was a great experience.
5) Favorite event? Favorite meet? Favorite competitor? Favorite workout? Least favorite workout (although it's good for you anyway)?
My favorite event : Long Jump. Favorite meet: Serra Top7. Favorite Competitor: Jahvid Best. Favorite Workout: sled pulls. Least favorite worlout:300's (anyone that's ever worked with me will tell you how much I hate these things but they help so much ).
6) Tell us a little about your coach and what he has meant to you in your progression to the runner you are today.
We've got an awesome coaching staff. Coach Michon and Coach Anderson have both inspired me to be the best and at the same time make practice fun. My head coach Ed Riley has in a way played the role of a godparent almost when my parents aren't around or when I'm training he acts like a father to me whether it's checking consistently on my grades or making sure I'm on time. He's really looked out for me in that way and has ALWAYS made sure I had what I needed. He takes such a good care of his athletes and others as well even though i can't stand 300's and he loves them. I'm willing to do them because I trust him and I know he'd only do things that would help me out.
7) Tell us a little about your first state meet experience. How will it help you this season?
hhaah state was fun just like everywhere I go. I try and have fun and at the same time compete to the level demanded . State was a whole different ball game as I've never been surrounded by so many top athletes. I was able to befriend top athletes like Vashti Thomas, David Henderson, Nelson of El Camino who all helped me in such a way that I even picked up a few training methods while down there. It was a great experience. I went there and performed and because I'm still pretty new at this there's so much I'm going to improve on. That its what I'm training for so this year's going to be exciting .
8) What have you done different this year in preparation for this coming season?
I've done so many things different this year everything from strength traing to eliminating distractions from my training.One thing is I went to a few clinics and met with some coaches who are gonna point me in the right direction and this year I'm debating to train with a track club in san jose for an indoor track season its my last year and I'd like to go out the right way.
9) What are some of your goals for this coming season?
Goals this year are specific marks. I try not to focus on places because if you hit the marks you want then everything will take care of itself: Long jump- consistent 24ft-25ft,100m-10.5 and 200m 21.3.
10) Who have been your role models in the sport (could be on your team, other teams, professional athletes etc.)?
On my team there's even people that I look up to that work hard Jon Ocon, Louis Dressel. Other athletes like Jahvid Best and Bismark Navarro. Professionally I look at Walter Dix and Carl Lewis.
11) A student is undecided about doing track. What would your advice to him or her be? Why should they try out track?
To someone not sure, I'd tell them that I was in their same position at one point and track is alot more then the 300's or long hill runs. You meet an amazing amount of people and expose yourself to diversity like no other sport. Coming from someone whose done an immense amount of athletics, it's great to say that track is such a benefit health wise and for networking. I've become closer to people in the track arena and my team especially more then anywhere else and you can travel and see this amazing land we've been blessed with Go for it!(stay humble).
12) Anything else you would like to add.
Just to every athlete out there to just have fun with it and don't forget the reason why you train and compete. Don't let anyone look down on you because you're young, undersized or inexperienced but you can do anything you set your mind to and no one can tell you otherwise. Be humble and set an example for others.
Thank you very much Kendall! AJC