TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — On April 13, in the Eastern High School lobby, EHS senior Taylor Parker signed her letter of intent to join the Ohio Valley University track and field, and cross country teams.
“I’m really excited about it, I never really pictured myself making it to that point,” Parker said of advancing to the college level. “It really makes me excited to see how much I’ve improved. It’s really boosted my confidence level, to show that I am actually good enough to make it there. I’ll hopefully do well.”
At Eastern, Parker has been a three-year member of both the track and field and cross country teams.
With Parker on the track and field team team, the Lady Eagles have won back-to-back Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division and Southeast District championships. In cross country, Parker helped EHS claim two district titles and three TVC Hocking crowns.
“Taylor was a late bloomer really, she didn’t come out until her sophomore year,” EHS head coach Josh Fogle said. “We talked her into coming out for cross country and, we really didn’t know what to expect her first year. She’s trained really hard, she runs all summer and all winter. She’s turned out to be a really good distance runner for us.
“I think if she keeps training and keeps putting the mileage in, the sky is the limit,” added Fogle. “She’s a great kid, a very good runner and I think she’ll do really well in college.”
Parker has competed in the state meet in both cross country and track.
In cross country, Parker was a member of the Lady Eagle state qualifying team in 2014, and she finished 141st at the state meet, with a time of 25:42.77. In track, Taylor was a sophomore member of the 4x800m relay team that finished 13th at the state meet.
Parker has finished in the top-10 in the TVC Hocking in each of her three seasons of cross country. Her personal record for cross country came in her junior year, when she turned in a time of 20:41.20.
As a junior on the track, Parker was a member of Eastern’s 4x800m relay team that won a league title. Taylor set a personal record in the 800m run at last season’s district meet, posting a time of 2:37.64. Earlier this spring, she set a personal record in the 1600m run with a time of 5:56.13.
Parker has also excelled in the classroom at EHS, currently ranked fourth in the graduating class of 2017 with a grade-point-average of 4.0.
Taylor will major in wellness at OVU, where she will continue to compete in distance events.
“It’s a really small school and I didn’t want to go anywhere too big,” Parker said of choosing OVU. “It’s not too far from home, so if I need to come back and get something, it’s not a big deal. I also really like the coaching staff up there.”
Ohio Valley University is an NCAA Division II school, located in Vienna, West Virginia. The Fighting Scots compete in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.