EAST PALESTINE - As Booker T would say, Shartece Taylor is a "five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time," county champion.
Taylor, a multi-sport star at Wellsville, won three titles in track at the 109th Columbiana County Meet May 1 at Reid Stadium in East Palestine to go along with the pair of championships she won at the meet last year at Reilly Stadium in Salem.
This year, Taylor won two county titles in individual events, and she won one as part of a relay team. Individually, Taylor won the 100 (12.62) and the long jump (16-03.25). Taylor also was a member of Wellsville's winning 4x100 team. The foursome finished first with a time of 52.59.
Wellsville’s Shartece Taylor competes in the long jump at the Columbiana County Track Meet. Taylor won the event with a jump of 16-03.25. (Photo by Aaron Petchal)
"It feels really, really good. It's kind of unbelievable. I didn't think that I could do it, but I'm speechless honestly. It feels really good, really really good.
"I just wanted to run hard and to do it for people who have passed on who have believed in me, and that is what I did."
Taylor won her two individual county titles before stepping on to the track to be a part of the 4x1 team. Taylor said there is a difference between competing an individual events as compared to running in a relay race.
"Relays I approach totally different. In relays, I actually push myself really, really hard because other people are depending on you. I have got my cousin, Maleya Fultz, in there, and I have got my best friend (Mikyla Tipton) and I have got Angelica Scarabino, she is like a little sister to me. It's pushing me even harder because they are like family to me, so it makes work even harder.
"Individually, I just go out there and if I win, I win. If I lose, I lose."
Tipton, who ran the first leg of the 4x1 race, recently graduated. Fultz, who ran the second leg, will be entering her junior year. Scarabino, who ran the third leg, will be a sophomore in the fall. Taylor, who ran the final leg, will be a junior.
The four girls were also teammates on the girls' basketball team in the winter.
Last year, Taylor won one individual event and she was a part of one winning relay team. Taylor won the 100 hurdles (12.74), and she was part of the Tigers' winning 4x1 team. The foursome of Tipton, Fultz, Monica Wilson and Taylor finished the race with a time of 53.21.
This year, Scarabino replaced Wilson as the third runner. Wilson was injured, and she was unable to compete.
Taylor's victory in the long jump this year gave the Tigers three-straight county titles in the event. Shawntae Dillard, a 2011 graduate, won the event the previous two years.
"It's not that important to me," Taylor said about winning the long jump. "It is. I won and I feel really good about that, but I am more focused on running than I am jumping. Actually, I didn't even jump my freshman year. This is my first time ever jumping really, but it feels really good to come in here and win as a sophomore."
Taylor added there is no similarities between running on the track and jumping in the long jump.
"No, not all, no," she said. "I don't even know. I don't really know how to compare them because it is not really a comparison."
Last season, Taylor was able to watch Dillard compete in the event, and she was able to learn a lot from her former teammate.
"Yeah, I did," she said. "When she went to states, I didn't get to go, but she kind of pushed me more because I know she went to states, so I feel I have to go to states too. She went to states as a senior, and I want to go to states as a sophomore jumping. It just pushes me even more."
The Tigers ended up finishing fourth at the county meet with 53 points.
"Actually, it has gone pretty well," Taylor said. "Our 4x200, we are working, but I think we might cut that out a little bit. It is going pretty well overall."
Taylor had plenty of success this season prior to and after the county meet.
"I thought I would do better, but I'm trying," she said. "I think this will be one of my worst years, but I don't know. I'm just trying. I'm speechless. I don't know what to say."
Individually, Taylor qualified for the regional tournament in the 100, the 200, the long jump as well as in the 4x1 relay. Taylor was the district champion in the 100.
Unfortunately, Taylor and her teammates came up a little short of reaching the state track meet in Columbus.
Taylor said she wanted to thank the team's head coach -Cissy Wilson for everything she has done for her in the last few years.
"I do want to give a shot out to my coach also," Taylor said. "She, just like Tipton said, she can be my friend, she can be my aunt and she can be my coach, and I love that in her so much. I love her so much. She is one of the best coaches I have ever had, and I'm glad to be with her for two more years.
"I'll be sad when I leave that she will no longer be my coach anymore, and I'm so glad that I have this friendship with everybody. I'm so glad to have the 4x1, the 4x2 teams. It's awesome.
"I came from East Liverpool. I came from this big squad. Now, I'm down to this little squad, and we're doing so much better than what actually they are. I don't want to sound rude, but we really are.
"I just want to say congratulations to my team. We have to depend on each other, not just on me, not just Angelica. We have to depend on everybody. I'm a sophomore. Angelica is a freshman. Tipton is a senior. Maleya is a junior. It's crazy, and I like it.
"It's so fun, and I am going to be sad because Mikyla is leaving, but we'll try. I'm not saying we will, but we'll try to throw somebody in there. I'm not saying we will, but I just want to say I love my team and I love to represent Wellsville."