Kuykendall Sisters’ Bond


Ashlee Kuykendall (left) and her sister Jessie Kuykendall.Courtesy Photo

Mitch Carney Sports Writer

A bond between sisters
that offers everything
they could ever want

In only two years at Missouri Southern, sophomore, Ashlee Kuykendall has already established herself as one of the leaders and best runners for the women’s cross country team. This season she has already placed in the top ten in two of her meets. There is more to Ashlee than her running at Missouri Southern. 

Ashlee is from a small town in Missouri called Warsaw, where she grew up before coming to Joplin. According to Ashlee, there wasn’t a whole lot to do in Warsaw besides going to the creek and spending time with her family’s horses. Her hobbies include painting, hiking, and anything that involves the outdoors. There has been a lot of change in her life moving from a small town to Joplin, but one thing has always stayed the same, her bond that she has with her sister Jessie. 

Jessie is a senior cross country runner for the Westminster Blue Jays. She shares the same passion for cross country running as Ashlee. The sisters both share the same interests such as traveling down to the creek in their small town of Warsaw and enjoying the outdoors. In the summers they would catch tadpoles and snails and try to turn them into pets and create habitats for them until their mother would make them release them back into the wild.

“We were always outside doing things! We went down to the creek all the time, or we would just go walking through the woods or around the pasture. We liked to be outside no matter what time of year it was. During the winter we would always go out on the gravel road and slide around. We’d be out there  for hours and have a blast,” said Ashlee’s sister Jessie Kuykendall on her and her sisters adventures outdoors.

It wasn’t always easy for the Kuykendall sisters at first, according to Ashlee:

“When we were younger we used to fight all the time, but as we got older and got into middle school and high school we learned to get along, and to this day I can’t remember the last time we got into a real fight, we have matured.”

They have matured, but the competitiveness definitely stayed between the two, especially during training. According to Ashlee, there would be days whenever they would be running together and one would feel better than the other and go faster, which would get the sisters into arguments and trying to get a step on each other, which could be the reason why each of the girls have had success at the collegiate level. According to Ashlee the two have never actually had a real race against one another, but she thinks she would come out with a win, which is what anyone would say in any competition against their sibling.

Ashlee would say her inspiration for the sport would be her sister Jessie because she would always watch her compete in high school while she was only in middle school. According to Ashlee, she wouldn’t have been in cross country if it wasn’t for her sister. Their schools don’t compete with each other unfortunately, but that doesn’t mean the sisters don’t keep up with each other’s cross country events. 

“Usually we will be talking and I’ll ask about her racing and she will ask about mine, and usually ask how it went and we will work with each other by trying to help in our other races,” said Ashlee.

All sisters have a close bond, but the Kuykendall sisters are different. The two have two different personalities, Ashlee is more of a city girl and Jessie enjoys the country life. They hardly ever get to see each other and their lives have changed so much since their days of walking down to the creek together in their small town of Warsaw, Missouri. That doesn’t stop them from being in each others lives. Two different cross country runners are more in tuned with each other than we could know because they have that sister bond that can never be broken. 

 “I love her so much. We share this sister bond where we just understand each other so well, so it’s easy to talk to her about anything because she just gets it. Even with us being at different colleges so far apart we are still really close and are always giving updates on our lives and helping each other out,” said Jessie. 

The girls may go to different schools, but they will always be there for each other because that is what sisters are for whether it be boys, school, cross country, or anything else that may come along in the sisters’ lives they know they can always turn towards each other for support in their lives.