Thomas Sumter's Kimbro sets new school record on way to Hines Furniture Athlete of the Week


Thomas Sumter's Fendley Kimbro may just be in the seventh grade, but she's already putting her name in the varsity track program's history books.

Last week, Kimbro set a school record in the javelin with a throw of 91'9" at the Kershaw County Championships, while also qualifying for the SCISA state meet in both the discus and the shot put.

Her effort was also enough to earn recognition as the Hines Furniture Athlete of the Week.

"I feel a lot of support from the Thomas Sumter community, especially my coach, coach (Rob) Coursey," Kimbro said. "He's been amazing all year and last year. He really helps me get through the track season."

Coursey could tell Kimbro was primed for a strong performance because of the way she prepared for the meet.

"She had a really great week of practice," Coursey said. "Fendley is one of those kids that when she gets determined on something, she really hammers it down. We've been really pushing from a team perspective to get qualified in as many events as we can and we knew she was very athletic to be able to throw the jav the way she was. It just really turned after having that meeting to really use this week to get qualified and while people are off, keep working on your craft. It just rolled right.

"I think she'll throw 100' this week on Wednesday when we go to the Sumter County Championships because she's really peaking at the right time."

The Kershaw County Championships provided the perfect environment to make some great throws, because Kimbro loves the charge that comes from strong competition.

"We're a small little private school, so it's different when you go to big public school meets and see all these kids that you know can throw farther or run faster than you, but your mindset is just to out throw them," Kimbro said. "I think it's more fun when you have more competition."

Kimbro said it felt like any other Wednesday, but the support from her coaches and teammates helped her make that final push.

"Everyone is nervous before they do something when they know they have to be good at it. Throwing has always been really fun for me, but it's stressful just like any other sport," Kimbro said. "That day I felt really good; I had a good school day. With those throws, I knew I had to qualify, so my mindset was really strong.

"I had my coach helping me. He really made me feel like I can throw farther."

Kimbro also appreciates the team environment with the Generals. She may be young, but they make her feel just as welcome as any other player.

"It's been really fun. When you have a team that's as close as we are, it's really fun to get out there and throw," Kimbro said.

The Thomas Sumter track team has seen an influx of great young talent this year and Kimbro is just one part of that movement. Coursey is excited to see how they continue to grow alongside their veteran athletes.

"They come in at that young age and they get to see the older kids that have come through the program. We have great leaders like AJ Fisher and Skylar Spilker and these younger student-athletes see what they're doing and want to close the gap," Coursey said. "The older ones are great supporters too and they push the little ones. It's a program thing and a family thing, I think."

Fendley isn't the only Kimbro throwing for TSA. Her brother Gatlin, a senior, has also had a strong season in the throws. Fendley loves having a sibling rivalry on the team.

"We're competitive with each other, so when we're throwing, we're throwing against each other," Kimbro said. "But he helps me through everything."

Coursey loves to see that family rivalry breed success for both Kimbros as both have now won the Hines Furniture Athlete of the Week this school year.

"For Fendley, especially, it comes from home," Coursey said. "She and Gatlin are very competitive and it's really cool seeing them do the same sport. I don't think it really matters what the school record is, I think it's the Kimbro record that they're always besting each other for. Gatlin threw 129', which was a PR for the year and then Fendley came in. They want to have those bragging rights."

Now that Kimbro has a school record under her belt, the goal is to keep improving upon it. She has no plans to rest on her laurels.

"I feel honored to have it, but my mindset is I have to keep it," she said. "If I don't make it better, then it's not a record for me."

She finished third in the event to earn the school record while also placing second in the discus with a throw of 76'2" and sixth in the shot put with a toss of 26'1". Now that she's qualified for state, Kimbro is turning her attention to helping TSA take home some hardware in a few weeks.

"I think we're really prepared," Kimbro said. "We have a great track team, a great coach, and I think we're going to make first in state this year."