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Sam Kendricks

Sam Kendricks 5.86 meter

Team Kendricks / Essx

Article: www.olemisssports.com

In order to pursue professional and international athletic opportunities, USA champion pole vaulter Sam Kendricks has elected to forego his senior year of eligibility with the Ole Miss track & field team.

Kendricks, who is also a member of the Ole Miss Army ROTC program, will remain in school and graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in general studies. He is on track to be commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. This decision to complete his college athletic eligibility will allow him to compete at professional events that would otherwise be unfeasible.

"This is a hard decision and the timing of it has been difficult for me," said Kendricks, an Oxford native. "I believe this is the best decision for my family, and I've gotten their full support in many ways. I love being an Ole Miss Rebel."

"We'd like to thank Sam for his contributions as an Ole Miss Rebel student-athlete," Ole Miss head coach Brian O'Neal said. "We respect Sam's decision to move forward in his athletic career and we wish him all the best."

Kendricks' career at Ole Miss has been nothing short of spectacular. After earning outdoor All-America honors and breaking all the school pole vault records as a freshman, he emerged as one of the world's top vaulters as a sophomore when he cleared 19 feet at the Texas Relays and then claimed the 2013 NCAA outdoor title.

His junior year saw him win every meet both indoors and outdoors except the NCAA indoor championship (runner-up with an indoor school-record height of 18-8.25). That included a USA title in Sacramento, California, an NCAA title in Eugene, Oregon, and SEC titles in Lexington, Kentucky (outdoor) and College Station, Texas (indoor). Immediately after winning the USA title on June 29, he spent the month of July at ROTC training in Kentucky.

In his three-year college career, Kendricks was a USA champion, World University Games champion, two-time NCAA champion, two-time SEC champion, five-time All-American, six-time SEC athlete of the week, 2014 SEC Indoor Field Athlete of the Year and 2013 Bowerman Award semifinalist. He has held the No. 1 pole vault in the world on multiple occasions, and established school records for indoor (18-8.25) and outdoor (19-0.75 - fifth-best in NCAA history).

Sam's father, Scott Kendricks, will remain as his personal coach but resign from his role as volunteer assistant with the Rebels.


In Sam's Own Words

I would like to thank everyone who helped to make this dream happen for me.

A lot of people are helping us. My whole family and my friends at Ole Miss and Oxford High are my team now. My dad, Scott Kendricks, is still my coach and the rest of the family is my base of support. Grandparents, aunts, uncles - everyone supports this effort. Ole Miss and Oxford High allow me to train at their facilities. All of these great folks are the foundation of my team.

Thanks to the encouragement of coaches like my dad, Joe Walker, Doug Blackwell, Jason Vogt and Tony Greer, I progressed to a level higher than I ever expected. Other great coaches helped us as well. Coach Joe Gant at Mississippi State, Earl Bell, Jeff Hartwig, Doug Fraley, Joe Dial, Dennis Mitchell, Anthony Curran, Kyle Ellis, Russ Johnson and so many others helped us make this little dream became a big reality. Without the support and friendship of my roommates and competitors, specifically Jake Blankenship, Shawn Barber, Andrew Irwin and Jack Whitt, I never would have done the incredibly hard work to get up to their level. They brought out the best in me! Thanks to everyone. Thanks to my team!


Update

Since turning professional, Sam has improved his personal record to 5.92 meters (19'5") at the Lausanne Pontaise meet, won the Olympic Bronze medal in Rio, and set a new world record push-off clearance for height above one's handgrip. Sam is now part of Team Essx and is sponsored by Nike. Working with UST-Essx, Sam helped create his new bronze medal signature pole, which is now available for purchase.

We are thrilled to have Sam as part of Team Essx, and look forward to helping him reach his potential.