by Phil Johnson
It’s not often that an athlete can boast eight separate trips to the state championships in two different sports in all four years of high school, but for cross country and track runner senior Jacque Taylor, this prospect is not foreign.
Taylor prevailed to become Division II cross country state champion her senior year, and competed at the Foot Locker Nationals meet her junior and senior years.
In track, she is one of the most decorated distance runners in Redwood Empire history; Taylor holds the school record in the 1600m and 3200m, at 4:49 and 10:34 respectively, and ranks top five all-time in the Empire.
“I like the 1600 meter better because it is shorter and faster,” Taylor said.
Her athletic abilities were an integral part of the girls’ cross country team that has placed in the top three at the NCS championship for the past three years.
Taylor has been faster than most since a young age. Back in fifth grade, Taylor, then a soccer player, began to run one mile once a week to get in shape for the sport. In sixth grade, she joined the Santa Rosa Express club team where she ran twice a week. That same year, she competed in her first Junior Olympics cross country race in New Mexico.
“It was really cool because I was running against people from New York, Florida, and other places in the US,” said Taylor.
When she began her freshman year, she decided only to run cross country.
It did not take long for Taylor to get noticed as one of the best runners around; she finished fifth out of hundreds of runners at the Mt. SAC Invitational, one of the biggest high school cross country races in the nation.
Her reputation as a distance runner in track was upheld at the Arcadia Invitational where Taylor placed seventh overall in the 3200m with the meet’s fastest freshman time in the event.
Taylor’s accomplishments earned her a full athletic scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she will continue with cross country and track.
“I’m really excited for next year. Not only will the competition be faster, but we are already really close as a team before the season has even started,” Taylor said.
With the state meet coming up on June 4, Taylor will be missing out on the graduation ceremonies, but looks to improve on her fourth place finish last year. Taylor is hoping for her second state championship this year, this time in the 1600m.