There is nothing more misleading than seeing 6-foot-4 and 230-pound Thomas Kensinger walking the hallways at Venice High and assuming he fits the stereotype of a California surfer boy because of his long blond hair.© (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times) Venice defensive end and tight end Thomas Kensinger is an avid hiker and Boy Scout with a 4.27 grade-point average. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)
On the contrary, he’s a hiker and Boy Scout with a 4.27 grade-point average. He knows how to use a bow and arrow, can hit a target with a .22 caliber rifle, speaks fluent Russian and a little German, can hit a baseball, sack a quarterback and execute a cartwheel or handstand thanks to his days as a gymnast.
“He’s always been able to soak up what coaches tell him,” said his father, Cliff, a former football player at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Kensinger, a senior, took the ACT again last Saturday hoping he reached 32 or 33, because one of his college options is MIT. If only the bigger schools could see his potential in football.
He didn’t start playing tackle football until eighth grade. He was a quarterback as a freshman, then switched to defense. He plays defensive end, tight end and long snapper now.
Yep. Thomas Kensinger again. pic.twitter.com/5PmEuaN9Wb— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) October 22, 2021
“I realized that it’s a lot more fun to hit the quarterback than get hit as a quarterback,” he said.
He’s the leading tackler for Venice. He also starts for the baseball team at first base. He played right field last spring when he came out late while football was being played at the same time as baseball.
He started at age 4 in gymnastics and competed through grade school. His mother, Irina, was born in Russia and that’s a popular sport there. But her husband reminded her, “Don’t put any more money in this. He’s going to be a tall kid.”
Thomas is also a twin. His sister, Daniella, is a star senior for the Venice girls’ volleyball team that handed Palisades its first league defeat since the 2010 season and is seeded No. 1 for the City Section Open Division playoffs. She’s the leading candidate for valedictorian at Venice. There’s also a 14-year-old brother, Lawrence, who’s already 6 feet and will arrive at Venice in the fall as an aspiring defensive end.
This is a family that lives within walking distance of Venice and appreciates the school’s magnet programs so much that they believe in the public school experience.
“I love the diversity,” Kensinger said. “You meet new people every day. There’s so many interesting people.”
Kensinger was close to becoming an Eagle Scout but had to pass because of time constraints with baseball, football, school work and college applications all colliding together. He settled for Life Scout and Senior Patrol Leader.
I have to say seeing a 6-4, 230-pound TE outrun DBs is pretty impressive. Thomas Kensinger from Venice. pic.twitter.com/9blTFTkwZE— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) October 25, 2021
In football, he had a 90-yard touchdown reception last week against Hamilton, running away from the defensive backs after catching a short pass.
"I was flying," he said.
He loves hiking in the mountains, whether it's Mt. Baldy, the Angeles National Forest or Emerald Bay State Park. He knows how to start a fire with rocks. He can identify plants and birds. He's never gone surfing but wants to study molecular biology.
He shaved his hair when on-campus instruction stopped because of COVID-19 in March 2020 and hasn't had a haircut since. His blond locks are now nine inches long. He's thinking of donating the hair when it's 10 inches long. He could star in a reality TV show with his many interests.
Either the NFL, SAG or the CIA could be in his future.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/venices-thomas-kensinger-is-a-star-on-many-fronts/ar-AAQ0xBn944