Kendra Chambers

Photo Credit: Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

For Kendra Chambers, life is a constant workout. A former member of the UT track team, Chambers now works as a production assistant for the Longhorn Network, leads her own personal fitness group four days a week and drives to and from San Antonio almost every day to train for the Olympics.

Passionate about being the best that she can be in every aspect of her life, Chambers’ drive to compete in the Olympics comes not from the quest for fame — but from an internal want for accomplishment.

“When you want to do something the best that you can physically, there’s certain steps you have to take,” Chambers said. “For track and field, it comes with being on the world-class stage. I know if I’m in that setting, it will help push to max out my full potential.”

Chambers makes the daily drive to San Antonio in order to be trained by coach Rose Monday, the middle distance chair for USA Track & Field. 

“It’s great to be around the best of the best at what you do,” Chambers said. “We do a lot of workouts geared toward the 800 [meter] and the 1,500 [meter]. I’m learning a lot, and I’m excited.”

With the Olympics constantly on her mind, Chambers’ other dream of working for the Longhorn Network keeps her in Austin. A few months after graduating, an adviser suggested Chambers apply for an open position at the Longhorn Network.

“[He] remembered that I was really into Longhorn Network, and that’s ultimately what I wanted to do after I graduated,” Chambers said. “A position opened up, and he was like, ‘Would you like to come in and interview for it?’ and I was like, ‘Of course,’ and it kind of just went from there.”

It didn’t take long before Chambers realized she could use her own skills to help out fellow Longhorns. Chambers started her own training group, KC’s Fitness Crew, in order to access a larger amount of students and friends asking for her help.

“I created [KC’s Fitness Crew] after spending a month or two with friends [who] wanted me to help them work out,” Chambers said. “It evolved into other people wanting to come work out, and it just kind of snowballed into this.”

The fitness program has served as the perfect trial run for a future business venture, according to Chambers. When she is done competing, she plans to get her personal training certificate and pursue training on a more professional level.

Courtney Coleman, business and marketing senior and Chambers’ boyfriend, often attends or watches the fitness sessions. Coleman said Chambers’ motivation has made a positive impact on his life.

“Her motivational attitude was definitely one of the main things that attracted me to her,” Coleman said. “It helps me be the best that I can, and we help support each other in any way we can.”

Stacey-Ann Smith, former Texas athlete and one of Chambers’ best friends, said Chambers’ attitude helped her pursue her goals, too. Smith ran track at UT and lived with Chambers while they were students. Smith also spends her time pursuing a goal of competing in the Olympics while running her own physical boot camp.

“Kendra and I are go-getters,” Smith said. “We’re always trying to help other people, and we’re always trying to do things to better ourselves. I think the camp is something that’s helped us accomplish those things.”

Women's Track and Field

Behind strong individual and relay performances, the No. 13 Longhorns finished second at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames, Iowa this weekend.

Texas claimed victory in the medley relay Saturday as All-Americans Sara Sutherland, Briana Nelson, Kendra Chambers and Marielle Hall clocked in at 11:15.90, the second fastest time in school history. Sophomore Kaitlin Petrillose also impressed on the first day of competition, as she became the first Longhorn to ever win the pole vault title at the indoor conference meet. By clearing 4.33 meters, Petrillose was able to beat her own personal mark and also eclipse the school record.

“It’s exciting to make a mark on the record books at a place like Texas, especially when it really counts at the conference meet,” Petrillose said. 

On Sunday the Longhorn’s 4X400 meter relay team took home a Big 12 title finishing with a time of 3:33.54. It was the team’s first win in the event at the conference meet since 2005. Another championship performance included junior Shanay Briscoe’s victory in the high jump with a clear of 5-9.25 (1.76m).

The Longhorns were able to score in 17 of 19 events and finished with a total of 148 points, just shy of team winner Kansas with 150.5 points.

In total, Texas earned 30 All-Big 12 honors in 17 scored events on the weekend. Senior Kendra Chambers, junior Briana Nelson and freshman Courtney Okolo led the way for the Longhorns with three each, while junior A’Lexus Brannon, senior Mia Behm, junior Shanay Briscoe, junior Danielle Dowie, senior Chalonda Goodman, junior Marielle Hall, senior Alicia Peterson and junior Christy Udoh picked up two apiece. 

The Longhorns will compete in the Last Chance Meets Friday and Saturday before the NCAA Indoor Championships take place March 8-9.

Women's Track & Field Review

Briana Nelson runs the 400-meter dash at the Texas Relays last weekend. Nelson set a career-best time in the 400 at the Florida Relays on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff

A slew of top-6 finishes (and the absence of a win) at the 68th Annual Pepsi Florida Relays illustrated the Longhorns’ room for growth in the outdoor season.

Claiming sixth out of 68 runners in the 400-meter dash, sophomore Briana Nelson made the first strong showing at the two-day meet for Texas. Nelson ran for a career-best 52.49 seconds. Kendra Chambers, Stacey-Ann Smith and Alicia Peterson competed alongside Nelson, all except Peterson finishing in the top half.

Friday afternoon’s field events were also opportunities for Texas athletes to gain confidence in outdoor competition.

Despite placing two spots higher at the Texas Relays, Okwukwe Okolie finished 5th in the discus throw invite with an improved 51.14-meter mark.

In the high jump, Victoria Lucas and Shanay Briscoe — two historically close competitors — came in second and third, respectively. Beverly Owoyele and Peterson also competed in the event.

Coming off a second-place performance two Saturdays ago at the Texas Relays, sophomore Danielle Dowie clenched fourth in the 400-meter hurdles.

Sophomore Christy Udoh, competing in the 200-meter dash for the first time outdoors this year, and junior Chalonda Goodman found success in the final individual running event of the meet for UT.

Coming in fifth, Udoh was less than one-tenth of a second off the time that had earned her the title of fastest Longhorn in the race last outdoor season. With a personal record of 22.85, Goodman claimed second and ended Udoh’s reign of team-dominance in the event.

While only participating in three events, Longhorns closed out the Florida Relays on Saturday with two fourth-place performances.

In the last field event of the meet, Amanda Van Dyke took fourth in the shot put invite with a throw for 15.84 meters. Wrapping up the weekend with the final women’s event, a Texas team — composed of Dowie, Chambers, Udoh and Nelson — held its own with the fourth best time in the 4x400-meter relay.

Printed on Monday, April 9, 2012 as: Nelson runs career-best 400-meters in Florida

Women's Track Preview

‘Tis the season for Big 12 battles. Joining in the festivities will be the women’s track and field team, scheduled to represent Texas in the Big 12 Indoor Championships this weekend.

Be prepared, however, because this conference championship comes with a twist that will undoubtedly result in tightened, cut-throat competition.

This weekend will be the second time for College Station to host the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships. More notably — with Texas A&M’s controversial, impending transfer to the SEC — it will also be the last time.

The meet is uniquely structured in that individual athletes earn points for their teams. Ultimately, the team with the highest cumulative score is declared the Big 12 conference champion. The top-placing schools will be honored in an awards ceremony following the final race of the weekend.

In order to earn as many points as possible, head coach Beverly Kearney has taken the approach of spreading her athletes out across an array of competitions in such a fashion that team members have testified that there is not an event in which Texas cannot place in the top 8.

On Friday, sophomore Marielle Hall and junior Julie Amthor will compete in the first running event of the meet, the mile, at 3 p.m.

Looking for a repeat first place finish, Kendra Chambers will take on the 600-yard race later in the afternoon. A dedicated 400-meter runner during the regular season, she has adopted her coach’s team-centered mind-set.

Chambers will not attempt to qualify for nationals in the 400-meter this weekend — putting the task off until the Last Chance Meets. Instead, she will compete in the 600-yard run because she knows it is the race in which she can most benefit her team.

While Kearney maintains that she has all of the bases covered, she is particularly enthusiastic about one particular facet of the meet.

“Hall and Sara Sutherland, who is also a sophomore, [have] both given the team confidence in the middle distance area ... [making] us more of a well-rounded and solid, quality team.”

On Saturday afternoon, Sutherland will join Hall — the reigning Big 12 indoor champion in the 1,000-meter — in the 3-kilometer race.

In the last women’s race of the weekend, Texas’ ‘A’ 4x400-meter relay team — which took second in last year’s conference championship, trailing Texas A&M by a mere 0.04 seconds — will aim not only to secure a first place finish in the event, but moreover clench a Big 12 conference victory for the Longhorns.

Printed on Friday, February 24, 2012 as: Kearney utilizing athletes to maximize point total

Women's Track & Field

At the Big 12 Championships this weekend, senior sprinter Kendra Chambers will compete in the 600-yard even though she specializes in the 400-yard. (Daily Texan file photo)

Photo Credit: Corey Leamon | Daily Texan Staff

The Daily Texan with senior sprinter Kendra Chambers. Chambers is the 2011 Big 12 indoor 600 yard champion and hopes to lead the Longhorns to a Big 12 Championship this weekend at College Station.

Q: What is the team’s collective goal going into the Big 12 Indoor Championship?
A: As a team we’re trying to get, of course, national qualifying marks — but not only that. We’re also focusing on coming together as a team, and the Big 12 is going to be the first real challenging test of that. It’s our pre-test before Nationals. So I think if we succeed this weekend, it will definitely help us tell the story of how we’re going to become National Champions.

Q: You talk about coming together as a team. Texas has had consistently improving individual performances, but as a team it has also consistently declined in the national rankings. What do you feel that Texas needs to do to reverse this trend and do you think that the Big 12 Championship is the perfect time to do it?
The Big 12 Championship is the first time we actually get to be a real team because we need the points to win. As individual athletes, we feel the pressure now. [In a] normal meet we want to qualify for nationals; this meet you get your individual points so we can win as a team. The times will just come. And our rankings will just come. Numbers will come. But I think as soon as we actually decide to get the 10 points, get the eight points, the six points — even the one point for eighth place — I think once we do that and come together, we’ll be successful in the Big 12 Championship.

Q: What is your main personal goal for this Conference Championship?
The Big 12 [Championship] is different for me. Since I’m the returning Big 12 Indoor Champion for the 600-yard, I’m going to compete in the event again. You know for me, I’m a 400-meter runner. I’d rather compete in [the 400-meter dash] but, like I said before, since we’re coming as a team I’m willing to sacrifice so we can get the 10 points, or the eight points, or what have you. Personally, I’m just looking forward to going ahead and winning the 600-yard again and getting the 10 points for the team so we can be the Big 12 Champions. I’d like to, of course, better my time. I ran 1:19 last year, which won first place, so hopefully I can break Suziann Reid’s [indoor 600-yard] record.

Q: So do you consider running the 600-yard and not the 400-meter to be a sacrifice?
Exactly. And Coach Bev knows that. After this meet [I’m] going to head into the Last Chance meet and qualify [in the 400-meter] there. It’s a little bit of a risk but I’m definitely willing to do it knowing that I can get 10 points and to help the team win the Big 12.

Q: Out of all the athletes who are really excelling this season, you are one of the oldest. Being more experienced and after winning a Big 12 Championship title last year, do you feel more individual pressure than you have in the past?
Yes. This year, I’m technically a junior indoor and a sophomore outdoor. I definitely feel the pressure; it would be nice to set an example for the younger [freshmen] and sophomores by getting those 10 points and winning first place. I do feel a pressure because I am returning champion but, nonetheless, more importantly, I look at it as trying to get the points for the team. I’m trying to set an example so we can set off a wildfire in College Station. 

Q. Throughout the season, would you say that most athletes put more focus on their individual performance or performing as part of one team?
People have to put emphasis on their individual competition. But the way I look at it is: if I can’t help my team individually, then I’m not getting points for them. So, to be out there everyday at practice individually working is important because once you get to the meet, we need the points [that are won by individual athletes]…and then those comes together collectively. It’s a system. It works. You have to be individually sound to help the team.

Q: Out of all the athletes who are really excelling this season, you are one of the oldest. Being more experienced and after winning a Big 12 Championship title last year, do you feel more individual pressure than you have in the past?
Yes. This year, I’m technically a junior indoor and a sophomore outdoor. I definitely feel the pressure; it would be nice to set an example for the younger [freshmen] and sophomores by getting those 10 points and winning first place. I do feel a pressure because I am returning champion but, nonetheless, more importantly, I look at it as trying to get the points for the team. I’m trying to set an example so we can set off a wildfire in College Station.

Printed on Friday, February 24, 2012 as: Chambers takes a risk with 600-yard run

Women's Track

Texas sprinters turned in a strong performance over the weekend at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.

The 1,600-meter relay made up of juniors Angele Cooper and Kendra Chambers, freshman Briana Nelson and senior Chantel Malone won on the final day with a season-best time of 3 minutes, 30.08 seconds.

The women ran the fastest mile relay time by a Texas squad since 2009, and the Longhorns now have the most 1,600-meter relay titles in the history of the Penn Relays. This year’s race, however, was especially close.

“I think coming out of this meet, everyone has the feeling that they can compete with the best, especially in the sprints,” said head coach Beverly Kearney. “With the four-by-400 meter relay, it’s exciting to win, and it was really a neck-and-neck relay. We were up against teams that beat us at NCAA Indoors.”

The race came down to Texas and Texas A&M, and A&M dropped the baton — giving Texas the final advantage it needed.

On Saturday, the Longhorns also placed second in the 800-meter relay in 1:30.93.

“I thought the weather today was great,” freshman Shanay Briscoe said Saturday. “Some people said it was too cold, but the cooler weather helped me.”

The Longhorn distance medley relay of Julie Amthor, Kendra Chambers, Marielle Hall and Betzy Jimenez finished 11th in 11:20.93, the best by a Texas group since 2008.

The Longhorns will spend the next two weeks training for the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, which will be held May 13-15 in Norman, Okla.

“From here, I’m going to go home and get ready for the conference meet,” Briscoe said.