Maximizing Potential: Meet David Kendziera

Photo by Alexander Shelegov

Name: David Kendziera
Event: 110mH, 400mH
Hometown: Mount Prospect, IL
High School: Prospect High School
College/University: University of Illinois
Training City: Chapel Hill, NC
Accolades: 10x NCAA All-American, 4x NCAA Championship medalist, 2019 USA vs Europe Gold Medalist (400mH)

How were you introduced to track, and what eventually led you to your event? 

During grade school I always enjoyed the mile test and I would always compete to have the fastest time in my grade, so when I got to 6th grade my Mother told me about our school’s track & field program and I was immediately interested. I started off doing mainly the 800m and long jump (quite a duo), and by my 8th grade year I did a mixture of 4x100m relays, the 400m, and long jump. During my freshman year season of track & field in high school, I didn’t really have an event that I could call my own and I didn’t really exceed at many of the events either. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school and growing to about 6’2” when my track and field coach decided to throw me with the hurdlers and I began to truly excel at the event. By my senior year I finished 2nd in the 110mH and 1st in the 300mH at the State Championships.

What is your most memorable experience in the sport?

My most memorable experience in the sport has been traveling out to Minsk, Belarus to compete for team USA at the 2019 USA vs Europe Match. It was my first time putting on the team USA kit and representing my country so emotions were flying high!

2019 USA vs Europe Match

What race are you most looking forward to in 2020 (not including the Olympic Trials / Olympics)?

I am most looking forward to my first outdoor race in 2020. I always have so many pre race jitters going into my first race and it is always the first building block that tells me what I need to improve on and get the ball rolling.

What is something not track related that are you looking forward to in the next year?

I recently moved out to Chapel Hill, NC so I am excited to experience the new city and state and travel around the area.

What do you like to do when you’re not training?

During my free time, I have picked up the hobby of participating in Yoga. At home, I like to play on the Nintendo Switch, binge watch shows, and then also hang out with some of the other athletes that train in Chapel Hill.

You are a strong advocate for maximizing human potential. How did you begin on this path and how has it shaped your experience?

Maximizing our potential is something that we all look to do, but it is sometimes hard finding the components, especially when we are younger. My path began my sophomore year in high school when my high school coach highlighted one of the athletes on our team who was committing to the Ohio State University. He talked about how he practiced, how he lived his life, and everything he was saying was really resonating in my ears. I looked to him as a role model and began to try to emulate that same life style, and during practices I would try to be his training partner every chance I got. From then on, I would continue to try to do everything I could do to eliminate any “What if?” questions from my life style that would take away from my goals in track and field. During college, I continued this path, however, I had to redshirt my Junior year season because of injuries. I felt out of place not being able to train or be on the track and it really hurt me mentally. I went through a time where I didn’t know my identity anymore and I felt depressed. During that time I had to understand that I’m not just a track athlete, and that I should use my same motivation I have in track and apply it to everything I do. My redshirt season gave me the opportunity to put all my efforts and time to maximize my potential in my everyday life and school. My senior year, I got back on the track and began to feel better, but I made sure to continue combining my lessons of maximizing my potential in every aspect so that I could see what I could accomplish in all the important aspects of my life.

What advice would you give to your high school freshman self?

Find your BIG DREAM that you have and begin to make realistic everyday goals that will get you to that BIG DREAM.

Lightning Round

Favorite sport, not track? Football

Favorite pro sports team? Chicago Bears

Favorite training shoe? ASICS trainers

After competition indulgence? Dessert and Sourpatch Kids candy

Best movie you’ve seen in the past year? Shazaam

Favorite TV shows? Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Game of Thrones

Celebrity or Historic Figure you would most like to meet? Motivational speaker Dr. Eric Thomas

Who is your track and field idol? Edwin Moses

Give a shoutout to your supporters

Shoutout to all my friends and family that have been behind me and been a positive influence on my life to continue pursing my dreams, shoutout to my fans that support from afar, the USATF Foundation, and major shoutout to TC Management for making opportunities to race happen always.

Connect with David


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