Throughout the summer, we will be honoring graduating seniors with our annual Salute to Seniors series! To submit your own questionnaires to be posted on the front page of PennTrackXC, check out this page and email your responses to Dan Beck (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Today, we salute Tia Taylor of Saint Basil Academy. The hurdler and jumps specialist is bound for Cornell University in the fall.
She was a state champion in the AA 100 meter hurdles as a freshman and was consistently one of the state's top performers in both the long and triple jump throughout her terrific career.
Taylor reflected on her career for PennTrackXC below.
What's your most memorable race/competition?
My most memorable high school race was PIAA, AA 100 hurdle finals my freshman year in 2018. What made them memorable is that I won the race, even though I wasn't expected to. I think that was what made it specal, being the underdog and coming out on top.
Where did I face my biggest competition?
I believe I faced my biggest competition when I competed at the Millrose Games in both 2018 and 2019. My Freshman year I competed in the long jump and then triple jump in 2019, it was a learning and inspiring experience that I had to take in.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
Personally, I think my accomplishment that stands out the most is being able to continue my passion for track at a D1 institution as well as my education at an Ivy League school. This is what myself and my whole support team has worked toward since they could see the talent in me.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
If I could change anything about my high school athletic career, it would be to be more upfront with my injuries. I know many other athletes may do the same and try to take care of it alone because at the end of the day all we want to do is compete, but it does come back around and bites us in the end. If I would have been upfront and told my coaches when I first didn't feel right, I definitely would have been in a better place to hit marks I know I can hit.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
The most difficult obstacles to overcome for me were being an injured athlete for two years of my high school career as well as being a junior during the covid recruiting process. Being injured takes a mental and physical toll on an athlete. It does not help when you have a desire to get back to what you do best either. But then covid hit my junior year. The recruiting process is already scary by itself but when you don't have a stable season schedule, it becomes a bit more horrifying. But I made it through these obstacles and I am ready to get back and show what I can do at my new home.
What will I miss the most?
I will definitely miss my team the most, I already do so much. But the rush to get in Lehigh on Friday nights, road trips to states, and the hype of making it to high school nationals. There are so many smaller pieces that made my high school experience the best for me, even though it's all memories now they help me expect the most for my future.
Do I have any advice for younger athletes?
My piece of advice is: stay determined and take in every moment and lesson you are being taught/experience. Make sure you take care of your mental health too, it does play a big role in your performance even if you are in the best condition to compete.
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
The coaches I have in my life have influenced my performances more than I could explain. All the workouts that they had in place for me to follow as well as knowing my body better than I so that I could put out my full potential every time I step on the track. As far as my overall life goals, I am blessed to have the support team that I do have. They allow me to be the best version of myself while helping me determine where I go wrong and acknowledge the mistakes I make because not one person on this earth is perfect. It is the best feeling to know that they were there for me every step of the way and still are as I enter a new chapter in my life.
What are my post-high school plans?
Since I have committed to Cornell University, I am spending my summer in a pre-freshman program, adjusting to the workload as well as the beautiful campus. I am enjoying the early friendships I am making and the networking I am able to make with other higher level students here. I do miss home too, since I left shortly after my high school journey ended but I would not trade this experience for anything.
To my coaches: Coach Irv, Coach Teri, and Coach Lloyd, and Coach Ron ..miss you
All my track babies, sisters, and brother, keep running!
And of course my family. Thank you, everyone and Pa for shaping me.