Bradwell Institute track runner Anthony Holsendolph signed a letter of intent Thursday to run track at the University of South Carolina-Upstate.
The BI senior has been running track for 11 years and has competed on the Tiger track team since his freshman year.
As a freshman, Holsendolph took first place in the Region 3-AAAAA championships in the 400-meter dash and the 1600-meter relays. Last year, he ran a personal best in the 400, clocking in at 50.14 seconds for another region title first.
He also logged a personal best in the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 4 inches for first place in the region tournament.
Holsendolph said he felt comfortable with USC-Upstate’s new track head coach, Natalie Smith, and liked the campus during a visit, making his decision an easy one.
“The coach (Smith) was my sister’s coach at Georgia Southern so we knew each other a little bit, and then I went for my official visit and the team was pretty cool,” he said. “They have pretty good stats and it was a cool place so I think I will fit in well.” He said he already is busy preparing for high school meets and doesn’t expect a break after the season as he works to stay in shape for his first college track season.
“Pretty much everything I’m doing here I’ll be doing there, so I’m going to be on my toes as soon as I get there,” he said.
Holsendolph comes from a family of track stars. His father, Anthony Holsendolph Sr., ran track and his sister, Kwajelin, received a track scholarship to Georgia Southern in 2010 and earned Southern Conference honors her freshman year.
Holsendolph Sr. said the scholarship means a lot to his son “because he has practiced so hard, and I’ve pushed him a lot and I see it’s finally paying off and it’s all for good things.”
But he wants the young athlete to put education first and athletics second.
“He knows he can call home and get advice from us, but the main thing is to focus on his lessons first then sports,” Holsendolph’s father said. “I want him to stay focused on what he is up there for and what he wants to do in his future.”
Holsendolph said he plans to study visual arts and communication.
Tiger track coach DeAndre Davis said it was Holsendolph’s parents who helped pave the road for the running star.
“He has the support of his teammates but, more importantly, he has always had the support of his family. They’ve been to all his practices and track meets. I wish a lot more of our parents were as supportive. The sky is the limit and now it’s up to AJ,” Davis said. “The biggest thing is, he is not going to have his parents there as much as he’s had them in the past and he is going to have to be self-motivated, but I think his parents planted a good seed and they can sit back and watch it grow. He’s a blessing and I’m going to hate to lose him.”
Holsendolph’s mother, Velincia, said it felt good to know that, as parents, they did a good job is raising both their children, affording both of them the opportunity to attend college on scholarships.
“We’ve talked to him about our expectations — student first, athlete second,” she said. “He has to maintain his grades and do what he needs to do in the class to represent the school and then athletics that will come about on its own.”