Nicole Taylor, regarded by some basketball observers at the state’s top schoolgirl player, will play her college ball at the University of Vermont.
The York High School senior verbally committed to the school last week, where she’ll play for former Colby College head coach Lori Gear McBride.
McBride is prohibited by NCAA rules from commenting on incoming recruits until they have signed a National Letter of Intent.
A two-time BDN All-Maine first-teamer, Taylor has led coach Rick Clark’s ballclub to two Class B state championship games, including a state title last winter, and she’s relieved to have made a decision.
“I’m glad to have the whole college [selecting] weight pressure off my shoulders,” Taylor said.
Taylor knew she wanted to attend the university after visiting the Burlington campus, and the fact that McBride is now the head coach swayed her toward Vermont.
“I love Lori, she’s really nice and really cool so I’m really excited,” Taylor said. “She’s a really good coach, I’m excited to be playing for her.”
Taylor, a 6-foot center, will likely switch to forward at the college level, but Clark said that’s a transition that won’t be a difficult one.
“She’s the most dedicated person in the weight room of any high school kid I’ve had,” he said. “She’s able to do so much more both in terms of basketball stuff and strength in general.”
Taylor has also become like a second coach on the floor, which is a big load off for any basketball coach.
“She’s not afraid to speak out if she thinks there’s another way [to win] or [we] can try something else,” Clark said.
Taylor, who also plays soccer and runs track at York, was impressed with Vermont’s record as of late and the local support for the team.
The Catamounts won the America East title last winter and even won an NCAA tournament game.
“The support the basketball people have from the community is really great,” Taylor said. “I wanted to be on the team that had support from everywhere.”
Taylor’s mother, Marcia, also attended UVM, and Nicole said she has improved in multiple ways over the course of her high school career.
“My outside range and my dribbling [are better], I need to convert more to a wing player so I need to expand more on my range and seeing the floor and stuff,” she said.
Taylor’s coming to Vermont is contingent upon her acceptance into the university and meeting NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.
Lawrence’s MacManus honored
Lawrence High School of Fairfield athletic administrator Bill MacManus was recently honored by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association as a Certified Master Athletic Administrator.
To earn the distinction, MacManus has demonstrated exemplary knowledge, contributions and on-going professional development in the field of interscholastic athletic administration. The voluntary process included a thorough evaluation of the candidate’s educational background, experience, NIAAA Leadership Courses and professional contributions. It culminates with a practical written project.
The NIAAA is a national professional organization consisting of all the athletic administration associations in all 50 U.S. states, and it consists of more than 8,000 individual members. The association is dedicated to promoting the professional growth of high school athletic directors and preserving the educational nature of interscholastic athletics and the place of these programs in the secondary school curriculum.
New twist in XC festival
The Maine Cross Country Festival of Champions, one of the largest regular-season high school invitationals in New England, already has 35 schools planning to run in the Oct. 2 meet in Belfast.
But there is a little bit of a change in organization this year.
With the state championships also scheduled in Belfast Oct. 31, a large contingent of teams will likely be expected, so the field will be limited to 65 schools from Maine and five schools from outside the state.
Teams that competed in the 2009 meet are guaranteed a spot if they confirm to Brewer coach and meet director Glendon Rand their intention to compete by Aug. 21, while those who didn’t compete in the 2009 meet will be put on a waiting list.
Once the “guaranteed” teams are confirmed, the “waiting list” teams will get the remaining spots.