For the past four years, Talen Taylor has been a leader on both the Pacer cross country team and the track team; and this fall, he will continue his running prowess at the next level.
The Switzerland County High School senior signed a National Letter of Intent last Thursday afternoon to run at Vincennes University beginning in the fall.
Although his main focus will be running cross country, he will also be a member of the Trailblazer track team.
Talen Taylor said that several factors attracted him to Vincennes.
“There was a school rep who came down and was talking about it, and one of my friends, Logan Pike, is going there, and he got me a little more interested in it,” Taylor said.
Coach Chris Gafner spent time talking with Taylor, and Talen said that although he doesn’t know very much about the squad, he did get to meet some of the team earlier and feels like he’ll fit right in.
“Being a two year college, they get new people every year and then they move on to somewhere else after a couple of years,” Taylor said. “It seems like they have a pretty big team.”
Since Coach Gafner took over the Trailblazer programs, VU athletes have broken school records in 45 different events. They have also garnered 61 All-American honors including six national champions and six runner-up finishes.
As a team VU has won the last six consecutive men’s NJCAA Region XII outdoor track & field team titles. Coach Gafner has also led four different teams to compete in the NJCAA National Cross Country Championships. In 2011 both the women’s and men’s program finished in the top 10 of the NJCAA outdoor national championships for the first time in school history. The women’s program finished seventh and the men’s team was ninth.
The VU track & field program has proven to be one of the best college programs in the state of Indiana with the women’s team winning the Indiana Little State Championship title in 2011 and the men finishing runner-up.
Taylor said that Coach Gafner has not had the opportunity to see him run in person; but the coach has seen the impressive list of individual and team accomplishments that Taylor has attained during his high school career.
He was a two time individual champion of the Ohio River Valley Conference, helping the Pacers to team championships; and also ran well in the Sectional, finishing high enough to advance to the Regional every year he was in high school.
Taylor continued his excellence in the Regional, advancing to the Semistate two times.
He says his best time covering the high school distance was 16:04, but he cautioned that the team was told that the course may have been a bit short, so he is as humble as he is fast.
The high school cross country distance is 3.1 miles; and once he gets to Vincennes, that distance will double to 6.2 miles.
Taylor will major in welding at Vincennes.