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TAYLOR REEVES BECAME THE BEST POLE VAULTER IN GEORGE RANCH HISTORY ALMOST BY HAPPENSTANCE.
She started pole vaulting in the seventh grade, but only because she had no other choice if she wanted to compete in track and field.
“I didn’t have any other events to do. I got cut from everything else,” Reeves said, laughing. “So, they told me to try for pole vault and it ended up working really well. It’s a sport I can’t wait to go to practice every day.
“You can be fast or strong. You don’t have to be everything, as long as you’re good at one thing. It’s mostly determination. So, as long as you’re determined to learn and not afraid to make mistakes or get hurt, you can do it.”
As a junior, Reeves became the first Longhorn pole vaulter to qualify for State last year. She finished eighth at the Class 6A meet clearing 11-feet, 6-inches.
It was her second-place height of 11-feet, 8-inches at the Regional Meet that got her there.
“It was really cool,” Reeves said of making school history. “I feel like I’m setting a standard for people behind me. We have girls coming in who are freshmen who are looking really good, and I hope they can see it’s a very reachable goal.”
Reeves has always been athletic.
Growing up, she swam and played volleyball, golf and soccer. She participated in gymnastics and ballet. She played for the Longhorns’ varsity volleyball team during the fall.
So, yeah, when she looks back on it all, Reeves is a little surprised it’s pole vaulting that has been her claim to fame.
“Both of my parents were track coaches, so my dad always wanted me to do hurdles,” Reeves said. “I just wasn’t very fast. I was skinny, and most of the time in junior high, the skinny kids all do pole vault. It was one of those things in tryouts where you just had to go for it and not be scared. I just went for it, and they took me.”
Though she didn’t place at State, Reeves said she wouldn’t trade competing at the University of Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium for anything.
“After all that, I feel I’m more confident in myself and I can go into meets without stressing as much and having r urance in myself,” Reeves said.
Reeves, whose personal record is 11-feet, 9-inches, is better in a lot of ways this senior year.
With her Bay Area Pole Vault club team, Reeves takes inspiration from working alongside Olivia Lueking, a vaulter for the University of Oklahoma.
Reeves did an indoor season for the first time. She’s spent more time in the gym on the weights.
She’s learned to trust her instincts. Trust herself.
“I’m hoping to go back to state,” Reeves said. “That’s the big thing. PR-wise, probably like 12-6 or 13-0. Growth in some way. We’ll just see how it goes.”
George Ranch junior Kylie Stubbs
GEORGE RANCH JUNIOR KYLIE STUBBS HAS WRESTLED WITH ADVERSITY MOST OF HER LIFE.
Stubbs is a Type 1 diabetic. So, wrestling on a mat pales in comparison.
“I was really little when I found out I was diabetic,” Stubbs said. “I would be really, really thirsty. I’d wet the bed a lot. At first, (my parents) were like, ‘OK, we’ll just stop giving her water.’ So, my mom wouldn’t give me water after 5 p.m. But I’d go to bed, and I was still peeing. Then I was acting weird for a while, and they took me to the doctor.
“They tested my blood sugar, it was really high, and they diagnosed me.”
Stubbs got on a diabetic Omnipod when she was five years old. It delivers insulin through a tubeless, waterproof pump around the arm. When she was in second grade, she started using Dexcom, which monitors glucose every five minutes for diabetics. It is accessible with Apple or Android devices, so Stubbs uses an Apple watch to track her blood sugar.
During the wrestling season, Stubbs wears the Omnipod during practices. For meets, she’ll either wrap up the Omnipod with tape or take it off completely.
“I’m definitely used to it,” she said “When I was younger, it’d be painful and bother me. But now that I’m older and bigger, it doesn’t bother me at all.”
The Omnipod presents an interesting subject of conversation. Stubbs has heard it all. Most people think it’s an ice pack of some sort. Another person thought she was being controlled by a remote and part of a study.
“I wish I was being controlled by a robot!” Stubbs said. “That’d be cool.”
Stubbs follows professional athletes who are diabetic on Instagram. She has attended camps where diabetic athletes have spoken.
Stubbs, who has wrestled all three years of high school and played competitive volleyball for six years, gets her inspiration from them, but it’s not lost on her that she is also a source of inspiration.
“I think there’s a misconception that you can’t do sports with (diabetes), but in reality, it doesn’t stop you from doing anything, as long as you check your blood sugar regularly," Stubbs said. “When I was younger, I didn’t necessarily try to hide it, but I didn’t love broadcasting it. You just have to put in work to make it work.”