Seneca Lady Indians Senior Track Star Taylor Mailes
Parents: Kevin & Sherri Mailes
Siblings: Tashina (2005 graduate), Tawni Keeling (2010 graduate)
Favorite Subject: English
Favorite Food: Any kind of dessert
Favorite Sports Movie: Facing the Giants
Favorite Collegiate/Olympic Star: Simone Biles
Quotable: “Knowing I had won state my sophomore year, but still having one more jump left. So, I just gave it everything I had and beat my personal record by five inches.”
Seneca Senior Track Star Taylor Mailes Leaps to State Crown in Long Jump
You could say Seneca Lady Indians senior multi-sport standout Taylor Mailes may have unexpectedly, at least to a degree, leapt her way to success in a sport she’s only been involved with for a relatively short timeframe.
Mailes, who played basketball in grade school while playing softball for a number of years before giving it up and then proving to be a solid performer in volleyball the past two years, didn’t figure track made sense.
As evidenced by Mailes’ masterful work while claiming a state championship in the long jump during her sophomore season, taking up track has worked out quite well.
Mailes recalls, “I excelled in many sports growing up, but never thought track would be a good fit. In eighth grade, all my friends begged me to do it, so I reluctantly joined the team, and it turned out to be my favorite.
“Track has always been fun for me because I like competing individually. That’s where my competitiveness comes in, because you’re only going to be as good as the work you put in on your own.”
Seneca senior girls track head coach Morgan Rodriguez, who is also a Lady Indians basketball assistant, applauded Mailes’ mindset and raves, “Taylor is a disciplined, coachable athlete. She’s willing to put in the time and work to perform at a higher level.
“She’s quick and explosive, which contributes to her success in the long jump. She also focuses a lot on her jumping mechanics. Overall, her ability to focus, be self-aware and make small adjustments allow her to have the success she’s had.”
While Mailes shines, there have been obstacles along the way. She says, “I’m not exactly built like a long jumper. I’m about 5’4” and have pretty short legs, so people don’t look at me and think I’m a threat, until they see me jump.
“But, the biggest challenge is not having a track to practice on. We run sprints on the football field as conditioning and have to go to a surrounding school twice a week to practice our events.”
Regardless of any challenges, Mailes takes it all in stride and insists, “The thing I love most about the long jump is that there’s always room for improvement on some part of your technique.
“It’s a lot more complicated than people think, but constantly having something to work on and then nailing it is so rewarding. It’s always new and exciting so I never get bored.”
Mailes notes in the four previous years she’s run track, “I’ve done a little bit of everything. My freshman year, we had a group of girls for a relay team, so we’d compete in two to three relays each meet.
“I also ran hurdles from eighth grade through my sophomore year. I’ve done long jump since eighth grade, and it’s always been my best event.”
Coach Rodriguez sees Mailes as simply being the best example of a student-athlete, and she says, “Taylor’s attitude and effort on and off the playing field make her stand out.
“She works hard in the classroom. She treats her teammates right. She is respectful of teachers and coaches. She does things the right way. These qualities are hard to coach, and she makes it easy.”
It’s easy to see Coach Rodriguez is thrilled she’ll have Mailes for one more season when Seneca’s 2019 track schedule commences this spring.