Taylor photo

Salt Fork’s Payton Taylor attempts the shot put during last year’s IHSA Class 1A state track meet in Charleston. Taylor and the Storm won the team title and was hoping to go for a repeat before the season was halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CATLIN — Last year as this time, Payton Taylor was a busy man.

Taylor was not only part of Salt Fork’s state-winning track team, he was also part of the Salt Fork baseball team’s run to the IHSA Class 1A supersectionals.

“Winning state was a great experience because I was playing baseball at the time and it was non-stop fun,” Taylor said. “Winning state last year and winning a regional title in basketball were my two best moments. ... It was fun time, I will always remember it and it was good.”

The Storm were ready to build on those good moments this year before the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to that.

“We were ready to give it our best shot again and I was going for titles in shot put and discus (Taylor finished in the top six of both events last season) and it is sad that we are not going to go for it,” Taylor said.

With successes in football, basketball, track and baseball throughout his career, Taylor said that every sport has taught him things for life.

“My first sport was baseball and after that, I starred playing football and track in high school, so I have been doing a lot of sports for a while,” Taylor said. “It’s been great to play all of these sports. It has also taught me a lot of off the field skills to apply in my life and it has been a great experience. Like last year, I learned time management and prioritizing things.”

Also, he had the pleasure of playing with his closest friends from a young age all the way up to senior year.

“I have been playing sports with my friends Owen Carder, Dawson Dodd, Kieler Bennett and others have been together since kindergarten,” Taylor said. “Playing with them through the many different sports have been great. We still get together and play and they are fun to be around.”

With no season, Taylor is still at work in getting ready for his freshman year at Illinois State University.

“I have my own schedule and I keep a list and I keep my throwing schedule up, so it has been mostly lifting and throwing,” Taylor said. “They are pretty close to us and that is why I chose them. They are a program on the rise right now and they are a great fit for me.”

With just the time to focus on track, Taylor said that it will be a new feeling going forward the next four years.

“It’s weird to think about that and to focus more time on one sport,” Taylor said. “Hopefully, it will show a lot of benefits in the future.”

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