Oxford Pole-Vaulting Prodigy continues to shatter records

Oxford Pole-Vaulting Prodigy continues to shatter records

Andrews Mclellan, entertainment editor

Oxford High School and future Arkansas Razorback pole vaulter John Scott Kendricks has shattered records across the state of Mississippi and does not plan to stop in the Sip. Coming from a family of athletes Kendricks was always around sports, but he has proved himself to be something very special.

“Because my dad was previously the track coach at Oxford I have been around every event at the meets, but it wasn’t until my second year of middle school Coach Patton asked me if I would jump with the varsity team,” Kendricks said. “My dad and I trained twice a day for a week before the regional and state meets and I ended up jumping a 12’ and I began training consistently ever since.”

Kendricks describes pole vaulting as a fear based sport. Not only is the sport of pole vaulting very physically demanding it is extremely mentally focused as you psych yourself up before every jump. He believes that other events in track and field are simply a test of speed or athleticism, but pole vaulting has a great mental challenge as you are throwing yourself 17-18 feet in the air and free falling over that bar. 

“The biggest struggle for most guys is overcoming their fear of jumping because the higher you jump the smaller the room for error is and everyone has close jumps where things could have ended very badly, but its those jumps where you can really test yourself“ Kendricks said. “The biggest challenge for me was overcoming my fear as well. I was afraid to pole vault my freshman year but I still did it because I knew I was good at it, but once I got rid of that fear I really felt my growth as an athlete.”

Midway through his senior year at Oxford Kendricks announced that he would be taking his talents to the next level as an Arkansas Razorback.  but  Though committing to Arkansas and having his career extended he was not letting his foot off the gas as he managed to break the Men’s State record for pole vaulting that was previously set by his brother Sam Kendricks.

“The record set by my brother was supposed to be the most unbreakable and untouchable record in the history of Mississippi athletics so it was very special to me as I broke it,” Kendicks said. “Breaking it my first meet of senior year meant a lot to me and really showed me how far I’ve come and how far I still have to go until I’m as good as I want to be.”

John Scott’s brother Sam is a world champion pole vaulter and achieved a bronze medal at the 2016 olympic events. Sam has helped John Scott throughout his athletic career through his past experiences as a pole vaulter and has kept things competitive between the two.

“My brother always has a lot of insight into the things that I’m going through or having to learn as an athlete since he’s been there. I can always go talk to Sam and he’s always got a good idea of how to help,” Kendricks said. “He’s also got a great understanding of college track and field so I imagine if I’m ever struggling there I can just give him credit.”

Though still being a High schooler Kendricks has had a career of medals already. As a Junior he won the National Championship in which he competed against the greatest pole vaulters in the nation. This experience really showed Kendricks that he was ready to compete with these guys on the collegiate level and that he had gained the confidence he needed to continue to dominate.

“I was really just going out there for the experience of it as I was by no means the favorite to win, not even in my own eyes as I was one of the only juniors in the entire competition.” Kendricks said. “I got to see how I stacked up against these seniors that I would be competing against in college so it was really nice as I went out there and dominated and came home with the gold medal.”

With Kendricks’ senior season slowly coming to an end he plans to take his record breaking mentality with him as he seeks to break the Freshman record at Arkansas and get himself an SEC championship for his school and family. Kendricks has the resources and work ethic to accomplish any goal that he sets his mind to.

“The constant support and encouragement from my family and friends has helped me the most as I plan to continue my career in Fayetteville,” Kendricks said. “There have been ups and downs as well as doubts so far but with my dad being my coach and my brother being an Olympian I have all the resources I need to stay on track.”