Long jump excellence runs in Stringfellow family

Brandon senior Kennedy Stringfellow is following in the footsteps of his father, Savante, who is a highly accomplished long jumper
Savante Stringfellow (L) is a highly accomplished long jumper, competing for Ole Miss, and the...
Savante Stringfellow (L) is a highly accomplished long jumper, competing for Ole Miss, and the U.S. National Team. His son Kennedy (R) is following in his footsteps(Patrick Johnstone/WLBT)
Published: May. 21, 2023 at 11:49 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Earlier this month, Brandon long jumper Kennedy Stringfellow broke the Mississippi high school record in the 6A State Championship. In his high school career, Stringfellow also broke the Brandon record in the 200 meter, and won gold in the long jump, 200 meter, and 4x200 meter relay.

Stringfellow’s accomplishments are impressive, but they are not a surprise to those who know his family.

Kennedy’s father, Savante, has a long list of accolades in the long jump. After graduating from Provine High School, Savante attended Ole Miss, where he was an eight-time All-American, a four-time NCAA Champion (indoor and outdoor), a five-time U.S. champion, the 2003 World Champion runner-up, the 2004 World Champion, and a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team.

“He’s a big contributor to where I am right now,” Kennedy said.

Savante never pressured Kennedy to follow in his footsteps, but it’s no surprise that once he did start jumping, it was not a surprise that he excelled.

“Even though I didn’t push it, there’d be times where I’d tell him and my other sons, ‘hey, let’s just jump, let’s just have a jump day, and just play around with it,’ and look at where we are now,” Savante said.

Throughout his high school career, Kennedy had Savante as his coach, showing him the ropes, and bringing the two closer.

“Growing up as my dad and my coach, I felt like that made us have a deeper bond,” Kennedy said. “I feel like that made me understand track and field a lot more than it just being a sport.”

The time they’ve spent together over the last four years is invaluable for their relationship.

“It’s something that’s extremely special and has nothing to do with track,” Savante said. “It’s just another avenue that we can hang out. We can build something together and that’s going to go so far and just our lives and our relationship.”

When it come to choosing the next step in his career, Kennedy chose a different path than his father; committing to in-state rival Mississippi State instead of Ole Miss.

Savante wasn’t upset when his son decided Starkville would be his next home and not Oxford. In fact, he’s proud of Kennedy for the decision.

“One thing I respect about him, he’s always going to go out and set his own mark. He always wants to go out and make a name for himself,” Savante said. “I get that question a lot, ‘how do you feel about you went to Ole Miss, and he’s going to Mississippi State?” The thing I say is, I’ve had my career. It’s time for him to start his.”

Even though Kennedy will be a Bulldog and not a Rebel, Savante is looking forward to cheering him on.

“Next year will be the first time I can actually watch him as a parent, and I’m going to do like every other parent: just watch him and support him in whatever he does,” he said.

Kennedy’s career best of 25′4.5″ is way beyond Savante’s high school mark of 23′2″, so he is already ahead of where his father was at his age.

“I believe that I could be better than him,” Kennedy said. “He constantly reminds me that he’s going to be better than me,” Savante laughed. “I don’t doubt that at all.”

While he does have a long way to go to catch his dad, Kennedy has him in his corner, helping him every step of the way, and Savante has the experience and expertise to help his son prepare to compete for the United States just like he did.

“If he ever gets an opportunity for that, I think he’ll already be ready because those conversations have started,” Savante said. “Those conversations have been going on for years.”

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