Beddingfield’s Taylor finds happy place en route to EPC XC title

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When overcome by sadness, Mikeala Taylor’s prompt recourse is running.

“It’s an outlet when I’m sad or something,” Taylor explained. “It calms me.”

Competitive running produced calm and happiness for the 18-year-old Taylor, a senior at Beddingfield High, last fall.

Taylor, the daughter of Chrystle Taylor, earned 2-A Eastern Plains Conference Female Runner of the Year after winning the girls race in the conference cross-country championship meet.

The Lady Bruin runner prevailed with a time of 22 minutes, 20 seconds over the 3.1-mile course. The time was a personal best until Taylor posted a new personal best of 22:15.51 in placing 15th in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A East Regional meet. Taylor completed her Beddingfield career with a top-100 showing in the 2-A state meet.

“I was very excited, actually shocked,” Taylor said of her league accomplishment.

Taylor bested Farmville Central standout Brooke Schwieferman, who edged Taylor for the runner-of-the-year accolade in 2017. Schwieferman placed third in the 2018 conference championship meet.

Joining Taylor in the all-conference lineup were junior teammates Kerry Ann Rivera and Marisol Sanchez.

Conference champion North Johnston landed Haley Bunn, Caroline Leggins, Sydney Swartz and MacKenzie Swartz. North Johnston’s Lola Lippert was tabbed coach of the year.

Completing the elite unit are Farmville Central’s Schwieferman and Nina Jefferson and Nash Central’s Malloy Roughton. SouthWest Edgecombe and North Pitt are not represented.

“She absolutely deserved it,” fourth-year Beddingfield head coach Ryan Reich said of Taylor’s honor. “She’s always been consistent. It shows in her attitude and demeanor.”

Taylor did not begin running competitively until the latter part of her sophomore season. Her Beddingfield athletic background includes volleyball, basketball and indoor track.

She is currently involved with indoor track, coached by Reich, and runs the 1,600 and 3,200 meters and a leg of the 4x800-relay team.

Reich noted Taylor has never been known for a strong, late kick.

“She wears them down early and keeps pulling way,” he remarked.

Taylor’s senior highlights included defeating Schwieferman in three races and placing second in the Wilson County Championship meet contested at Wilson Christian Academy.

“She’s a tough kid,” Reich declared, pointing out that Taylor works a part-time job, helps with the care of her younger siblings and accepts a leadership role in running.

“She has a lot of responsibilities,” Reich said. “She’s a great role model. When she does something, everyone follows suit. To see how far she has progressed from her sophomore year to the point she progressed this year — I am absolutely thrilled and happy for her. I hope this experience carries over to college.”

Taylor assures she hopes to run collegiate cross-country.

“So far, so good,” she reasoned. “But I know I can run better. I am looking forward to beating my personal best.”