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All-Area Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year: Taliyah Wade, E.C. Glass
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All-Area Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year: Taliyah Wade, E.C. Glass

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Q: It was another successful season for you and the Glass girls. Tell me about it.

A: It went kind of fast, in my opinion. It was a better track season because we had a lot more participation to get in the groove of track and field, especially in shot put and discus. A lot of people don’t usually come out for those events, so it was great to see more interest.

Q: You are definitely a leader on this team. What’s that role like?

A: I’m kind of used to it by now, because I’ve had a leadership role with the ROTC for a while now. So it just added to a pile that I had in my life. But it was a great experience to have another group of kids look up to me.

Q: How long have you been in the ROTC?

A: All four years of my high school career. I was the corps commander for my senior year.

Q: So what are your college plans?

A: I’m going to Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. I received a scholarship for track and field down there.

Q: You started winning state titles as a junior. What changed for you that season, after you had advanced to the state meet as a sophomore?

A: I guess the passion I had. After the first year, I saw that I really had something I enjoyed more than any other sport. So just the passion that I had for it and the fact that I was actually good at it.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of in high school?

A: All the leadership roles I was able to have and be a part of, because, again, it’s always good to be a leader in something.

Q: So what’s the driving force behind your desire to set an example?

A: My [seven] brothers are always the people I strive to be an example for, especially the little ones who are just getting ready for middle school and elementary school, showing them that they need to stay focused and they can do sports and everything else at the same time if they want to.

Q: What else are you interested in beyond track?

A: Computer science and engineering. That’s going to be my major in college.

Q: Glass has a strong history of throwers. Why do you think that is?

A: The coaching staff, of course. Coach Kevin Latham, out of all the coaches I’ve had, he’s the best. He’s honest even if it hurts, which is a good thing. But he also encourages you to do your best and to always have fun. That’s his top thing, to always have fun even when you’re not doing great. And then there’s coach [Jermaine] Johnson. He’s there as much as he can be, to put you in the weight room. You have to have strength behind you for the shot and discus.

Q: You’ve won four individual state titles and five team state titles. Why are the Glass girls so good overall?

A: Because they strive for their best and they help each other, even when other teammates are like, ‘I can’t do it.’

Q: You started track in 10th grade. Why then?

A: It was just something new to try. In ninth grade I didn’t do any sports and in 10th grade I was like, well, I need to do something other than school. So my gym teacher recommended me to coach Latham and coach Latham came out to see me and was like, ‘Try this.’ Ever since then I’ve been doing track.

Q: Do you have any advice for younger throwers?

A: Always have fun even when you’re having a really bad day. Always try to look on the bright side of things.

Q: Who is your favorite teacher at Glass?

A: For all four years, Sergeant [Don] Dougherty and Lieutenant Colonel [Leslie] Pratt. They’ve always been there for me. For this year, it’s between Casey Wood, my English teacher, and Jennifer Tyree, my emergency dispatch teacher [career tech].

Q: Who is the person who has most influenced your life?

A: My mom, Gisel Crawford. That’s a common answer, but it’s definitely my mom, because she’s gone through so much — between juggling the fact that her and my dad were separated and then her health problems and then with us having so many sports. And plus, my other brother, when he came to stay with us, she really juggled that plus work, surprisingly, for the last 13 years. That inspired me to multitask as good as she can.

Ben Cates covers high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5527.

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