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Best of the West: Kendall Long

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 Kendall Long (12) as she signs her NLI to run track and field at Southeast Missouri.

Kendall Long (12) as she signs her NLI to run track and field at Southeast Missouri.

Ben Charney

Ben Charney

Kendall Long (12) as she signs her NLI to run track and field at Southeast Missouri.

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Versatile (adj.)- capable of doing many things competently. In the track and field world, this adjective describes Long perfectly. Adept at running both track and cross country, Long could be compared to a Swiss Army Knife- capable of many functions.

After signing her National Letter of Intent (NLI) to Southeast Missouri for track and field, Long is ready to jump start her collegiate career.

Being a disciple of track and field at such a young age definitely has its benefits. Long started running track at 7 years old and has not looked back since.

“I first began track and field when I was 7 years old with the Memphis Jaguars AAU Track Club and Shelby Youth Sports,” Long said.

With Long’s mother being a former track and field star at the University of Memphis, some could say the natural inclination to run is in Long’s blood.

“My mom inspired me to run track and field. She ran track and field for the University of Memphis and is in the hall of fame there,” Long said.

After getting 4th place in the 300 hurdles and 7th place in the triple jump last year, Long is looking to elevate her performance this year. Aside from high school track, Long placed 13th in the nation for the 400 meter hurdles during a summer competition. Her Junior Olympics team also accomplished notable achievements this summer.

“My 4×8 team placed 6th in the nation at the Junior Olympics,” Long said.

Long is prepared to run any event in order to lead her team to victory. During track season, she is capable of running both the hurdles and up to the 800 foot races.

Surrounding yourself with a strong group of coaches enables a beneficial system of support. Long, having school coaches, AAU coaches and family members as strong influences, is always surrounded by constant support and encouragement to excel.

“My coaches include Coach KG, my mom, my dad, Coach Hudsmith and Coach Myers,” Long said.

Recently, Long broke Tennessee track and field history. She ran at the Houston Classic, one of the largest track meets in West TN, and won the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 44.42. This broke the meet record from 2011 and she won Most Outstanding Performance of the meet. This also broke the school record previously held by Kyla Walker, Class of 2012. Based off the time she just ran, Long is currently ranked number one in the 300 meters category.

For Long, it is not always about winning that motivates her to sprint but more about the feeling of completion and reaching a goal.

“I like the feeling of running a new [Personal Record] because I know my hard work has paid off,” Long said.

Aside from the feeling of achievement, Long simply enjoys being around her friends and having a good time. In the end, it is ultimately about enjoying what you practice for Long.

“I like that my friends from all of my teams make practices fun even when the workouts are hard,” Long said.

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Best of the West: Kendall Long