When you decide to take on three sports while striving to maintain a 4.0 GPA adopting the ‘whatever it takes’ mindset becomes a part of who you are. Constantly battling the physical fatigue that comes with athletics as well as mental exhaustion on the academic side, the moniker of Warrior is quite fitting for Snow Canyon’s own Taylor Gunn.
Like all things, anything worth doing can be difficult, yet if the desire is strong enough and the individual(s) are dedicated enough, incredible things can occur. This truth has helped develop in Taylor the desire to teach after her time as a Lady Warrior is through. Taylor has taken a serious approach to her studies and applied what she has learned as well as the dedication to learn into her own life. Understanding that dedication to her goals in life are more than words, Taylor’s mother Heidi Gunn recalls how hard her daughter worked through her schooling thus far, “sometimes she would get home from practice at 6 o’clock and wouldn’t go to bed until midnight studying.”
“I would love to be a US History teacher after high school,” says Taylor. What has built in her the desire to pursue that subject in particular are her own observations while studying the past. “I loved learning how one small thing made a huge difference in the world. Because someone reacted to problems between Europe and here in the New World, I just think it is amazing that those things that a small group of people did created this amazing nation.”
For Taylor, it’s the small things in life that she observes around her, which have helped her set her own patterns for success. “She is very capable of doing many things and do them well, “ says Josh Gunn, Taylor’s father. “Taylor can be counted on for anything,” Josh continues, “For example, we were gone for a week with our 12yr old, Erin, who has been playing in the Little League World Series and Taylor was mom for a whole week taking care of the kids with school starting and everything like that, she’s is very capable of doing a lot of things.”
When one considers what it takes to compete, maintain high personal academic standards and insist on doing his/her part at home, busy does not even begin to describe it, however Heidi understands this well and is very appreciative of her oldest Taylor. “We just feel so blessed to have such an incredible daughter, she just handles things so well. Being the oldest of eight is huge and she is a great example to all her younger brothers and sisters. To be so dependable and organized and able to keep everything together, we just pinch ourselves and wonder how we are so blessed to have her.”
The love for her family is guiding force in Taylor’s life and the support she receives from each of them has played a significant role in her growth as an individual. “When I am out there running,” Taylor explains, “Something that really motivates me is hearing my mothers voice. I can always here my mother yelling from the stands. She is one of my biggest motivators. Just knowing that my parents are there, watching and supporting me means so much to me.”
With a family of athletes, Taylor has a bit of help in her own pursuit of athletic excellence, which goes by the name of Natalie. “Everyone in the family plays sports,” Taylor shares, “and its really nice. My sister Natalie, who is just a year younger than me, we do all the same sports so it gets super competitive and that motivates us and makes us so much better. We will both be running and trying to beat each other or play basketball and see who can make more shots. It’s great.”
The obvious question of who is faster is answered in two parts, along with a smile. “She is faster,” Taylor admits, “but I have a lot more endurance in me. She really is a faster sprinter, but I beat her in the races.”
Mom shares a bit about the competitive drive her daughters share stating, “They compete a lot. Playing all three sports together it’s a big deal for them to come home and be able to say, ‘YES’ I beat her or ‘YES’ I made this or that play. They are competitive but they have the absolute best relationship together.”
Endurance for Cross Country is vital and for Taylor, putting in 4-6 miles a day after school and before practice is a natural extension of who she is. Once at practice she gets additional training to help with her speed as well as increase her endurance for the sport.
Taylor finds herself at peace while running, and is something she truly loves. “The competitiveness is fun,” she says, “but for me, a lot of it is that it’s a stress reliever, I love to think and while I am out there running I can let go and think. I also enjoy those that I run with. Some of my truest and dearest friends I have met through cross-country. I love that I get to run with my family, I get to run with my aunts, my dad, my sister, I just love running and how I feel, it is something I will always do.”
Learning much about what she is capable of is something that Taylor credits her time competing for Snow Canyon. She has been able to understand more about what she can do and how far she can push herself. It is this understanding that has helped her recognize who she is as a person. Yet, what Taylor looks to the most as a gauge or measuring stick of who she is, it is her LDS faith. “I am a daughter of God who loves people. I love to talk and get to know people.”
With that knowledge firmly in place Taylor shares a verse of scripture that is a guiding influence in her life. “One of my favorite scriptures is Joshua 1:9 where the Lord says to ‘Be of good courage,’ and that He will be with me wherever I go.”
Knowing she is in good hands, Taylor hopes to leave a lasting impression when the final race is over, “I have learned so much and I want people to think I am an example for good. Everything is for my faith and my family, they are so very important to me, they mean everything to me.” • HSSI