Sprinter Kendall Ellis has run track on big stages and has made many accomplishments at USC with the most recent being a 2018 NCAA championship outdoor title.
Ellis ran anchor for the 4×400 relay, starting her leg at third place, far behind Purdue and Oregon. In the final stretch of the race, she gained momentum. When she was only seconds and centimeters away from the finish line, Ellis took the lead. The Trojans had to win first place in the event in order to win the championship.
“I don’t think I consciously realized just how far behind we were from first place,” Ellis said. “But never in my mind did I doubt that I couldn’t catch her and that we would win this team title.”
In the outdoor season, she reached the 400m finals for the USATF championships, coming in third place with a 50.37 time.
She also had a strong campaign in 2017 where she won the Pac-12 title in the 400m after running a 50.66 time. In June 2017, Ellis competed in the USA Track and Field championship and came in third for the 400m, making a school record with a 50.00 time.
Ellis has a degree in Business Administration, she noted how being organized helped her keep up with her academics and athletics.
“I have a planner and I write everything out when I have to do that week, what I have to do that month,” she said. “I like to know things in advance, I like for things to be planned out so that’s been the biggest help.”
A key stimulus for Ellis during the 2018 season were races where she did not come in first place. Setting USC’s indoor 400m record and coming in third on the school’s all-time indoor 200m list were high moments.
However, Ellis fought to escape from performances she found disappointing, including when she represented the United States at the World Championships. She came in 24th place for the 400m, yet the experience “added fuel to the fire.”
“My worlds experience really motivated me for my senior season at USC,” she said. “I never wanted to feel the disappointment that I felt at the world championship again.”
Ellis began running track at seven, she noted how her classmates refused to play hide and seek because she ran too fast.
“I remember loving to just race the boys back during recess as well,” Ellis said. “I loved to race, I just really enjoyed running.”
Her advice on bring committed to the process of performing at the highest level is to trust the process.
“It took time for me to build up to where I’m at today,” Ellis said. “Continue to work hard and realize that when it ‘s your time to shine, you truly will shine.”