Madison Ridgeland Academy sophomore track star Kenndi Sanders has been making a name for herself in Mississippi since just the 7th grade. Sanders won both the 100 and 200-meter dash last summer at the National Junior Olympics and currently sits at No. 1 in the state for the indoor 200 and 400-meter as well as the outdoor 400-meter run.
“Well I started with track and field when I was younger and I used to run in the parking lots and my mom had to chase behind me and grab me and be like, ‘You can’t run in the parking lots,’ and I think that’s when I started to really like it,” said Sanders.
“I think that’s also when my mom was like, ‘Okay we’ve got to give her something to use up all this energy’. My mom made her own track team Xcel Athletics and that’s who I run for now.”
Sanders started running for the high school track team as just a 7th grader and runs for her mom’s team in the summer. She has represented Xcel Athletics at the National Junior Olympics every year since 2014 and loves having her mom as her coach.
“It’s great because she is going to make sure you’re eating and make sure you’re getting a lot of sleep, but it’s more of a mental thing than a physical thing because you have to be like, ‘Okay will this work for me?’ and you have that coach who is going to be like, “Okay I think you’re going to do better with this one than that one’. They help you and they guide you in that way and that’s why I love the fact that my mom is my coach.”
Overcoming nerves and getting a good start off the block is crucial and Sanders is always working to improve her mental strength.
“I do this every single time. I look into the crowd and my mom will give me a thumbs up and it feels like all my nerves will just go away and I just picture me and my mom on the track training every day and I just let it flow.”
Sanders has an impressive personal best of 11.35 seconds in the outdoor 100-meter dash and is setting the bar high for college and the Olympics.
“Well I have so many colleges I love but my top ones are LSU, Texas A&M, and Hinds. Those are the top three that I really like. When I go to the Olympics that’s one of my goals and just coming back with something like a medal, a record, just something where I can say I came to the Olympics and I did my best.”