For the second straight year, the Oxford Chargers have the top male track athlete in the state of Mississippi. Senior high jumper Justin Fondren won Mississippi’s Gatorade Track & Field Athlete of the Year, just a season after pole vaulter Sam Kendricks won the same award for the 2010-11 season.
Fondren, who signed with Alabama in the spring, won the Class 5A state high jump championship for the third straight year after clearing a mark of 7 feet. The accomplishment capped another successful season for Fondren, who won the bronze medal in the World Youth Championships with a jump of 7 feet, 0.25 inches last summer.
Fondren also gave the school a second Gatorade winner in less than a week as Erika Sisk was crowned the top female track athlete in the state of Mississippi.
Fondren said he was informed he won the award Sunday when a friend of his linked it on his Facebook page. Even though he knew Sisk won her award last week, Fondren was caught off guard with his victory.
“Of all the good people in the state, I can’t believe I won it. I’m just happy. It’s a big name, Gatorade. I’m just glad I won it,” Fondren said. “I knew Erika had won her award but I thought they did them all at the same time, so I didn’t think I won. My friend from the band posted a link to it and my picture was on the front page of the Mississippi ESPN High School site. It’s a good way to end my high school career.”
Oxford track coach Scott Kendricks said Fondren is a once-in-a-lifetime jumper and an outstanding young man as well.
“He is so deserving of this award because he’s been the best in our state for three years and the best in the USA for the last two,” said Kendricks, who added that Fondren went undefeated in meets at all levels the last three years of his career and has only been beaten by Ole Miss’ Ricky Robertson the past four years. “I can’t wait to see what he does in the next four years. To have two boys from Oxford win this award means we’ve done something right.”
Gatorade honors athletes not only because of their outstanding physical talents, but also for high standards in the classroom. Fondren finished his high school career with a B average and was recognized for his volunteer work with youth through basketball camps.
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