Geyaabi wiikwajichigen with All American Katie Taylor

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Katie Taylor, a member of the Minnesota State Track and Field Team, executes the Weight Throw. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota State Athletics.)

By Dan Ninham

“Geyaabi wiikwajichigen … Keep Striving/ Endeavoring.” These are the empowering Ojibwemowin Laura Taylor says best represents her daughter Katie Taylor, who is on the track and field team at Minnesota State University in Mankato. She is studying Information Technology and Mathematics.

Katie is a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Lake Superior Band of Chippewa and graduated from Hayward High School (WI) in 2016. Bernard and Laura Taylor are her parents.

Katie had an illustrious athletic career at Hayward High School (WI) in basketball and track and field.

“Katie has a pain tolerance like no other and has the ability to still compete with pain,” said her high school weights coach Terry Strouf. “She twisted her knee at the sectional meet and still was able to place 2nd in the shot and in the discus at state. She has the ability to find the next gear to improve her performance.”

Taylor competed in the shot put and discus at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Association (WIAA) Track and Field State Meets throughout high school. Her finish in the shot put and discuss at the State Meet during the sophomore season enabled the team to win the State Championship. She was also a part of the Hayward High School basketball team that won the WIAA State Division 2 Championship her senior year.

Many universities began to take notice of Katie’s potential as a student athlete. Several Big Ten Universities, as well as Yale, Stanford, Central Michigan, and others were knocking on the door.

Katie enrolled at NCAA DII Winona State University. Mike Turgeon was her coach. Turgeon coached 38 NCAA DII All Americans and five DII national champions. As a student athlete at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, he was a two-time NCAA DIII national discus champion (2002 and 2004), a four-time All American in the discus and a two-time All American in the weight throw.

Coach Turgeon directed Katie in the classroom and in her athleticism. “He taught me how to relax and visualize throwing which helped me get rid of nerves at big competitions. After a few months I placed 3rd with a lifetime best at Outdoor Nationals,” said Katie.

“I first met Katie when she was a freshmen in high school attending throwing camp at Winona State University,” said Coach Mike Turgeon. “I remember we were taking a break and she asked me about a specific drill.  I was very impressed with a high school freshman who was so passionate about throwing the shot put.”

As a freshman, Katie was named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference freshmen track and field athlete of the year.  She won a conference championship in the indoor shot put beating the NCAA National Champion.  Katie placed 3rd at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and was named an All-American.

Katie transferred to Minnesota State Mankato after Coach Turgeon moved from Winona State to Minnesota State to take a head coaching position.  Katie redshirted during the 2017-18 season (Redshirting college athletes is system that coaches use to give players more time to develop before getting on the field without losing any of their eligibility).

During Katie’s third year she was winning a majority of her indoor meets in the shot put and weight throw.  The week before conference Katie broke two bones in her foot during practice and it ended her season.  At the time she was nationally ranked and was the #1 thrower in the conference.

“I believe Katie has the ability to win national championships in the shot put, weight throw, and discus,” said Turgeon.  “I believe Katie will be making a huge impact on the NCAA D2 track and field scene this year and has the ability of making the 2020 Olympic Trails in the shot put.”

“Both of Katie’s parents have done an excellent job raising her,” said Turgeon.  “You can tell the influence her parents have had on her athletic development as they are successful high school coaches.”

“I want to show all of the younger girls in my tribe, who may not be that athletic, that they can go to college and live their dreams if they work hard. I want to be a role model to them so they know that people like them can make it as well,” said Katie.

The Minnesota State Mavericks’ 2019-20 Women’s Track and Field Schedule can be found online at:
https://msumavericks.com/schedule.aspx?path=wtrack