Saluki athlete played on five school teams, praised for her leadership
By Pat Payton
Teacher/coach Annette Wrigley describes Hazel Taylor as a “special” athlete for several reasons.
“When they leave the school, you know they are going to be missed on many different levels,” Wrigley said on-line last Thursday night while announcing that Taylor is the 2019-20 recipient of the prestigious Graduating Athlete Award, presented each year at St. Marys DCVI.
With the school closed, Wrigley organized a Virtual Awards Ceremony to honour all the Major Athletic Award winners as well as the most valuable players and sportsmanship winners on each school sports team.
Taylor made a huge impact on all five Saluki teams she was a member of this past season, sharing MVP on the tennis and cross-country teams, and being named a sportsmanship award winner in cross-country running, Nordic skiing and Ultimate frisbee. She also played on the badminton team.
“In her three previous years at DCVI, she also contributed to track and field, basketball, volleyball and the swim team,” Wrigley said in her address. “Hazel’s goals were not always defined by a win, or by standing, but by things we cannot always see on paper.
“The record sheet that we didn’t see about this girl is the number of kilometres she runs per week, and the dedication and effort she spends at each practice. She offers a selfless giving attitude and devotion to each of the sports that she plays.”
‘A heart of gold’
Wrigley says Taylor always takes time in her busy schedule to make teammates and coaches feel special and part of a team.
“Hazel befriends everyone, from young to old. She’s a girl with tremendous drive and a heart of gold, always going the extra mile to make sure everyone is included. I remember one special day during Christmas break where the skiers and myself were tired from having no snow.
“But Hazel enticed a dozen of them to run hills for an hour, and then go out for a sweaty breakfast. That’s leadership.”
Athlete ‘very honoured’
When contacted by the Independent, the personable Taylor said it was “very exciting” to learn that she had won the Graduating Athlete Award.
“I was really happy that I was considered for the award,” she said. “I also think there were a lot of deserving students as well. It was kind of a surprise for me, which also made it really nice. Out of the people in our grade, I thought I might have a chance. I’m very honoured to get this title.”
Taylor had many highlights in her DCVI athletic career, but one in particular stands out. She will always have a “special memory” of when the Senior girls cross-country running team was informed they had qualified for OFSAA in Sudbury last fall.
“We knew that we were going to be close, but we weren’t expecting it,” she recalled. “I was hoping to qualify as an individual, but it was great when we found out that the rest of our team had made it as well.
“Lydia (Taylor) had moved up (from Junior to Senior), and I’ll always remember the four of us going up there. It felt really good to qualify because it was the first time I had made it to OFSAA cross-country.”
Looking back at her time at DCVI, Hazel Taylor will always have fond memories of her coaches.
“For me, I really, really appreciate all the different coaches that I had over my four years,” she said. “The coaches at DCVI care a lot about their athletes and they care about how you’re doing in school and how you’re doing in your sports. I really appreciate all of them.”
Taylor, who turns 18 in August, is heading to the University of Guelph in the fall, where she will be studying for a Bachelor of Science and Environmental Science degree, with co-op.
“If possible, I will for sure play sports,” she says. “I was hoping to try out for the cross-country team, but I don’t think that’s happening this fall.”
–Hazel Taylor is the daughter of Bryce Taylor and Ingrid Vanderschot, a former DCVI student-athlete.
–Other Graduating Athlete award nominees for 2019-20 were: Connor Aarts, Scott Bishop, Sam Bolton, Simon Duncan, Joe Hutton, Jarod Medd, Ally Muir, Toto Saiyasen, Sean Slater and Kayley Thompson.