photo: Eastbay XC
Just five years ago Sophia Kennedy of Carmel finished 11th at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee, FL and was later named the Indiana Athlete of the Year for the 11-12 year old division. Fast forward to 2022 and Kennedy is now 18, a senior at Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis, and recently announced her plans to matriculate to Stanford University following graduation.
Kennedy is the daughter of Bob and Melina Kennedy; both whom competed for the Indiana University track & field program; with Bob later representing Team USA at two Olympic Games (1992, 1996) and setting American records at 3000m, 2 miles, and 5000m. Kennedy's twin brother is member of the U.S. Soccer U20 developmental team.
Despite fighting sporadic injuries, Kennedy's high school career has been nothing but stellar. In her first three years, she has three (3) top-five finishes at the Indiana state cross country championships (5th in 2019, 5th in 2020, and 3rd in 2021) and last year finished seventh at the Eastbay National Championships in San Diego. On the track she has run 4:49.08 for 1600m and 10:10.53 for 3200m. The 1600m time ranks #9 in Indiana state history while the 3200m lands her at #4 on the all-time list.
In the interview below you will learn more about Kennedy, both on and off the track; such as her favorite athletes, her favorite workout, her favorite resturant, and why she choose Stanford.
So let's get to know Sophia Kennedy........
I started running in 5th grade after I decided that I did not like soccer at all. Two of my best friends at the time convinced me to run with them on the middle school team. I instantly fell in love with the sport and that’s what that love continuous to drive me to work hard today.
My most memorable races have definitely been Brooks PR and Eastbay nationals. Both of those races have been my best performances and I love having the opportunity to race against a deep field of competitive and talented girls. Having that level of competition drives me to be a better athlete and gives me the confidence that I am capable of running with these girls.
My favorite subjects are math and English. I don’t usually love history but I’ve really enjoyed my U.S. history class this year.
I have a twin brother.
My favorite workout is 1 km repeats on the track at threshold.
The towpath in Indianapolis but only when there aren’t any geese.
Tacos or sushi.
Petite Chou and la Piedad.
My favorite artists are Mac Miller, Taylor swift, Still Woozy, and Kendrick Lamar.
Brooklyn 99, that 70s show, and anything Marvel.
Instagram or Snapchat. Follow me @sophiakennedy11 !!!!
My parents. They inspire me to be a better person and they have shown me how to work hard.
My favorite athletes are Molly Seidel, Emma Coburn, and Allyson Felix.
To give myself the best opportunities to winning national championships.
I took my official visits to Stanford, Notre Dame, Colorado, NC State, and Virginia. On an athletic level, the difference between these schools was minimal, and I believe that any of these programs can help me succeed at the next level of cross country and track. All of these programs obviously have been very successful and have brilliant coaches, but Stanford really stood out to me for a number of reasons. The first being that I wanted to take advantage of my recruiting process to make the most out of my education. Stanford had an amazing combination of athletics, academics, and I absolutely love the coaches and the team. Stanford has a ton of girls that are super nice and that I know can push me in my training, and Coach Clark is very easy to talk to and I know he will put up with my many many questions. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Palo Alto is a gorgeous place :). At the end of the days all of these programs are amazing, but Stanford really stood out in my mind.
I am not entirely sure yet but am exploring engineering, business, or architecture .
In 5 years I want to be running very fast in college! Im not sure where I’ll be in 10 years but I just hope that I’m happy and healthy.