Kendall Ellis Returns To STA
Two-time Olympic medalist Kendall Ellis ’14, returned to the halls of St.Thomas, to share her Tokyo medals and experiences with students and teachers. Coming off an impressive Olympic Games, Ellis won a gold medal in the Women’s 4×400 Relay and bronze in the 4×400 Mixed Relay. Since the age of seven, Ellis has run track. “My mom says I would come home from school telling her how fast I was and how I was beating all the boys at recess. Nobody could catch me in tag.”
Having won the 2018 National High School Track and Field Coach of the Year Award, Ellis’ mentor has become a legend. “The same coach I had then is still at STA, Alex Armenteros,” she said. “He’s always been a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. He’s never let me back down from my potential, even when I was scared. Ellis complimented St.Thomas, a school that helped her understand the importance of a strong academic foundation. “I loved my time at STA. It was very challenging academically, which was new for me; but I liked the challenge. They say there is a difference between high school and college, but to me it [USC] felt normal, thanks to my time at STA.”
While on campus,Ellis admitted this visit marked the first time since 2017 that she had an opportunity to talk with students and relive her Raider days. “It was humbling and definitely keeps me grounded,” she said. “I’ve been back to use the track and weight room, but this was my first time interacting with students and visiting classrooms.” Ellis now offers the same advice to young athletes that Coach Armenteros recommended to her all those years ago. “Have fun and enjoy yourself,” said Ellis. “I missed out on moments with teammates because I was so worried. Have fun.”
St. Thomas Aquinas had four athletes competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, accumulating a total of three medals.