Hallam to run track at Parkside
JOHNSON CREEK — For someone who learned how to run track in a parking lot and on uneven grass, Johnson Creek senior Taylor Hallam made the most of the opportunity.
Hallam, on Friday, signed a national letter of intent to run track at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
“I was planning on going to Parkside just for college, not to run. And then they sent me an offer so I took it,” Hallam said. “And I’m going to run.”
Without a track until her junior year, Hallam — who is believed to be the first scholarship track athlete for the Bluejays — was pushed in different ways than most track athletes.
Without perfect conditions in practice, it makes running in meets that much easier.
“I just think that makes them a tougher track athlete. Track is pretty mental, and then you’ve got the elements to deal with,” Johnson Creek track coach Paula Constable said. “So when it comes to running on a track and having an even surface and the right equipment, it just is like, ‘I can overcome a lot of stuff. Look what we had to work with and look where we are now.’”
In the first full season with a track at Johnson Creek High School last season, Hallam was part of the the 1,600-meter relay team that placed sixth in Division 3 in a time of 4 minutes, 10.90 seconds.
She was a state qualifier in the 300 hurdles as well. Hallam took 15th place in 51.46 seconds.
“It meant a lot and it was super exciting,” Hallam said of state. “It didn’t hit me for a while. ’Oh my gosh, we just ran at state. And I’m excited for this year to come back.”
Hallam, along with fellow senior Kittana Kulig, placed in the relay with now-juniors Mateah Roehl and Hannah Constable.
For Paula Constable, the growth over the last two seasons within Hallam makes her excited for what she could see this year and into the collegiate experience.
“From her sophomore year until last year, I saw a big improvement as far as the team atmosphere, support and being a leader,” Constable said. “She’s sometimes a quiet leader, but she gets down to business. She brings that seriousness to it.”
Being a college athlete will allow Hallam the resources to help transition from a smaller school to a university with nearly 5,000 students.
“I think there’s positives too from high school to college. You have a complete, dedicated staff,” explained Constable, who ran track at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
“They also have support for classes and nutrition. And so I had told her, ‘I think participating in track will make you a better college student.’”