To: Taylor Whitfield
TriBUne of Champions is a special feature by Baylor Athletics that offers student-athlete perspectives and an opportunity to share their own stories. Taylor WhitfieldA sophomore at Highlands Ranch, Colorado, he returned from injury last year and finished in the top three cross-country teams in the Big 12 Championship and NCAA Regional. A child and family studies major, Taylor’s cross-country team at Baror High School finished his eighth place nationally in 2019. Baylor Cross Country kicks off the season with the Tornado Watch Invitational on Thursday at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, Texas.
how did you become a runner Let’s just say it wasn’t my original plan to go cross country.
Running was my last choice, my last option, literally my last resort. My family is very competitive and I really wanted to compete on a team.I tried everything from soccer to volleyball to softball. I was so desperate that I decided to try archery. yes archery(Impressive, so no offense to those who are shooters). But nothing seemed to fit. I was in middle school when my parents said running was an option, but I finally gave up. But I joined the track and field team instead of cross country. Because running 80 miles a day was never fun for me. I started out as a sprinter and occasionally competed as a long jumper. Finally, my future high school long distance coach saw me attempting a sprint in practice one day and clearly observed that I was not a sprinter and definitely not a long jumper. He thought I could be a long-distance runner, but I never agreed. It’s the last sport I ever wanted to do. Track was fine, but cross country? No way. But my parents didn’t listen to my concerns about whether I would survive the miles. So I became a cross-country runner.
At this point in the story, you might be thinking, “Well, she’s finally found her sport.” Unfortunately, I was the worst runner my coach had that summer. and walked a lot. But my coach refused to give up hope and slowly I started to realize it.At the end of my sophomore year, I realized that I might have the opportunity to compete at the college level. Competing in college became a dream of mine and I was very excited when college coaches started recruiting me. Run and enter the sophomore season.Jesus, a great blessing to me and my family.
My passion for sports came slowly. I have had many struggles that made it difficult to love running. Pain can be difficult to work through and can be overwhelming in mental battles. I may not have intended to be a runner, but I believe God brought me into this sport to strengthen my relationship with Him.
I believe that God teaches us valuable lessons through sports. Life is hard, just like sports. It’s unfair, it knocks you down, it hurts you physically and mentally, it can be overwhelmingly scary. Choose to continue regardless. We’ve all seen or heard of athletes who have had their athletic careers hit hard, become underdogs that no one believes in, and then have amazing comeback stories. , may fall, suffer an “end of season injury”, or experience something irreparable for anyone. But God doesn’t want us to end up in a miserable situation. When life knocks us down, we can trust God to work things out for us (Romans 8:28). God’s heart is redemption and mercy. And he wants us to overcome the difficulties in our lives with his help. Running has taught me to rely on him when I fail. Because he is the one who supports us when life gets difficult.
Running has also taught me that where you put your identity is very important. Our identity cannot be found in anything we do. It comes from who God says we are. If you fail at sports, exams, or work, you are not a failure. Failure is an event. it is not a person. Failure is the only way greatness can be achieved, so we must be able to separate them in our minds. And if you don’t learn to fail well (meaning you’ll use what you’ve learned from failure next time instead of beating yourself up), you won’t know how well you can do.
I’m not an avid runner. It was terrible when I started too. I put my tail on, but I also know I couldn’t have done this myself. The Lord gave me the ability to run so I can compete in Baylor. Without the grace of God, this little “former sprinter” would never have reached this level.
The biggest thing I’ve learned through this sport is to never limit yourself.I have some big goals this season and in my running career. Some may call me crazy. Others may say there is no way it can be done. Some might say I am too confident. And maybe I’m crazy now, or maybe my journey from the outside looks like an impossibility. But limiting yourself is unfair, and limiting God is certainly unfair. Who can say that something is impossible when God makes all things possible? (Philippians 4:13). Now, I’m not saying all of my goals and dreams will magically come true. If it’s not part of God’s plan, they may not come true, so I find another area of my life to serve God. I’m going to give my all to give glory to one Lord, and I’m not going to limit what I can do through Christ this season and the rest of my career. And neither should you! God has given us all a foundation and a gift. If we completely surrender our lives and hearts to God, we do not know where He will take us. We can plan our way, but the Lord directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9). You have no idea how God will bless, honor, and glorify you in this life.
God gives us gifts and talents that we can enjoy. God wants us to enjoy praising Him. God gives us ways to honor Him by doing what we love. We bring him joy. As long as we are completely surrendered to God, we can pursue our goals and dreams without any hesitation or fear, knowing what He will do through you!
Former Champion TriBUne Features:
Volleyball – Lauren Harrison (August 18, 2022)
Acrobatics and Tumbling – Katie Schiffer (June 23, 2022)
Men’s Tennis – Sven Lah (May 5, 2022)
Baseball – Nolan Rodriguez (April 28, 2022)
Equestrian – Caroline Fuller (April 14, 2022)
Men’s Tennis – Matthias Soto (03/17/2022)
Football – Allie Henderson Ashkinos (03/03/2022)
Volleyball – Callie Williams (November 4, 2021)
Football – Jennifer Wandt (14 October 2021)
Softball – Lou Gilbert (05/08/2021)
Women’s Athletics – Aaliyah Miller (May 27, 2021)
Equestrian – Madalyn Callaway (May 20, 2021)
Acrobatics & Tumbling – DayAndrea Thompson (May 13, 2021)
Men’s Tennis – Konstantin Frantzen (06/05/2021)
Softball – Sidney Holman Mansell (08/04/2021)
Women’s Golf – Gurleen Kaur (25 March 2021)
Baseball – Andy Thomas (March 4, 2021)
Men’s Tennis – Charlie Bloom (02/11/2021)
Volleyball – Marieke van der Mark (3 December 2020)
Soccer – Raleigh Texada (November 12, 2020)
Men’s Cross Country – Ryan Hodge (29/10/2020)
Women’s Cross Country – Sarah Antrich (15/10/2020)
Volleyball – Hannah Sedwick (October 1, 2020)
Soccer – Maddie Algya (September 10, 2020)
Men’s Basketball – Freddy Gillespie (03/26/2020)
Women’s Athletics – Tuesdi Tidwell (20 March 2020)
Women’s Basketball – Moon Ursin (March 5, 2020)
Men’s Athletics – Cole Hardan (02/27/2020)
Volleyball – Shelly Stafford (January 30, 2020)
Men’s Golf – Mike McGraw (January 3, 2020)
Volleyball – Yossiana Pressley (December 5, 2019)
Baseball – Nick Loftin (November 21, 2019)
Men’s Cross Country – Ryan Day (01/11/2019)
Women’s Cross Country – Lindsay Walton (15/10/2019)
Men’s Basketball – Obim Okeke (October 1, 2019)
Volleyball – Gia Milana (September 17, 2019)
Soccer – Raegan Padgett (September 5, 2019)
Football – Sam Tecklenburg (08/29/2019)
Men’s Golf – Cooper Dossey (11 July 2019)
Baseball – Richard Cunningham (June 27, 2019)
Men’s Tennis – Jimmy Bendeck (14 June 2019)
Baseball – Shea Langeliers (May 30, 2019)
Women’s Athletics – Kiana Horton (May 22, 2019)
Men’s Golf – Garrett May (May 9, 2019)
Women’s Golf – Maria Vesuga (May 2, 2019)
Acrobatics & Tumbling – Camryn Bryant (04/25/2019)
Equestrian – Shannon Hoag (April 16, 2019)
Women’s Tennis – Angelina Shahraychuk (09/04/2019)
Women’s Basketball – Lauren Cox (March 22, 2019)
Men’s Athletics – Will London (07/03/2019)
Men’s Basketball – Jake Lindsey (March 4, 2019)
Softball – Nicky Dawson (February 21, 2019)
Baseball – Josh Bissonette (February 14, 2019)
Men’s Tennis – Will Little (2019.01.31)
Men’s Basketball – King McClure (01/17/2019)
Women’s Basketball – Chloe Jackson (03/01/2019)
Soccer – Blake Blackmer (13 December 2018)
Volleyball – Buraya Hunt (November 29, 2018)
Football – Jackie Crowther (16 November 2018)
Women’s Cross Country – Allison Andrews-Paul (08/11/2018)
Football – Ira Lewis (6 November 2018)