Don’t be surprised if in three years Oasya Taylor is competing for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics.
Taylor, a senior high jumper at Bryan Station, signed with Hampton University on April 28. She chose Hampton over offers from Howard, George Mason and McGill (Canada).
“It was like love at first sight,” Taylor said of her first visit to Hampton, which came into her recruitment late after she won three gold medals over the summer in Australia.
Colett Ellison-Taylor, Oasya’s mother, ran track at the University of Kentucky and participated in the 200- and 400-meter relays for the 1992 Olympic trials. Thanks to her, “I’ve been running track ever since I could walk,” Taylor said, but she didn’t really start taking it seriously until after her sophomore season. Before hiring professional coaches, Taylor trained herself in middle school and the early part of high school by watching videos on YouTube.
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Taylor is now four inches away from meeting the benchmark (1.85 meters, or a smidge more than six feet) for the 2020 Olympic trials.
The death of Trinity Gay, one of her best friends, in October has motivated her even further to pursue that goal.
“I think with her I can get there,” Taylor said. “I have four years to make four inches so I’m pretty sure I can get there in 2020.”
▪ Fourteen Henry Clay athletes participated in the school’s “National Spring Signing Day” on April 29. They were: Trustun Ashburn (men’s soccer, Spalding); Madison Campbell (women’s tennis, Transylvania); Keeley Chaffin (women’s soccer, Transylvania); Josie Cunningham (women’s track and field, Transylvania); Riley Cunningham (men’s lacrosse, Centre); Jackson May (men’s lacrosse, Transylvania); Jacob Miller (men’s lacrosse, Transylvania); Elle Ogden (women’s soccer, Rose-Hulman); Will Preston (football, Hanover); Cole Ralenkotter (men’s track and field, Morehead State); Mason Saunders (men’s lacrosse, Centre); Erick Strong (men’s bowling, Cumberlands); Jessica Sunnenberg (volleyball, Charleston); Noah Tapp (men’s tennis, Washington & Lee)
▪ Lexington Catholic volleyball star Julia Hatcher committed to Michigan State University on April 22. Hatcher originally was committed to Clemson University but decommitted after a coaching change occurred.
“The opportunity to play Big Ten volleyball is huge,” Hatcher told the Herald-Leader. “Definitely the best volleyball conference in the country.”
The Big Ten Conference has produced seven of the last 10 NCAA Division I women’s volleyball champions. Six of those were won by Penn State while the 2015 title was taken by Nebraska.
▪ Harlan County star Cameron Carmical, who helped lead the Black Bears to their first Sweet Sixteen appearance in March, committed to Eastern Kentucky University on April 23. He averaged a team-high 19.8 points for Harlan County, whose second-leading scorer Treyce Spurlock committed to EKU rival Morehead State four days before Carmical made a decision.
▪ Former Boyd County standout Aryanna Cannoy came up big for the University of the Cumberlands in its run to the program’s first Mid-South Conference Softball Tournament championship last weekend, earning conference Pitcher of the Week honors in the process.
Cannoy, a freshman, pitched a scoreless inning and earned the win in the Patriots’ 2-1 decision over Lindsey Wilson in the finals on Sunday. She threw a complete eight-inning game against Campbellsville in a 2-1 win in the first round.
Cumberlands, who went 4-0 as a sixth seed, will learn its placement for the NAIA Tournament on May 10. Lindsey Wilson, who was the MSC tournament’s top seed, is also guaranteed to play in the NAIA Tournament because it is one of the 10 opening-round hosts.
▪ Letcher County Central star Torell Carter signed with Berea College on Tuesday. Carter averaged 26.4 points on nearly 60 percent shooting for the Cougars as a senior.
▪ Marley Lawson, who averaged 7.6 points and 6.5 rebounds for Madison Southern, signed with Berea College on Wednesday.