Taylor Fox making a name for herself on and off the track
Southeast Missouri State University women’s track & field team earned the 2023 OVC Indoor Track & Field Conference title on Feb. 25, 2023. Leading the way, with a particularly rewarding run, was sophomore cross-country and track distance runner, Taylor Fox.
Fox set a new record for the women’s cross-country team with a mile time of 04:48:41. The previous record was 04:51:94, meaning she beat the time by about three seconds.
Senior cross-country teammate Katie Wegmann said, “Taylor made a 4:48 mile look easy, and watching her break the record was awesome. She told me at the beginning of the season that she wanted it, and she went and got it. It was pretty cool.”
On top of the record, she also placed first in the women’s distance medley, women’s mile, and the women’s 800-meter race. She received the OVC Female Athlete of the Championship, as well as being selected as the OVC Female Track Athlete of the Year.
Associate Head Coach for cross country and track & field distance, Coach Ryan Lane, who is in his 12th season here, spoke about Taylor’s competitive nature and what is so special about her.
“Probably Taylor’s most important attribute as an athlete is that she is one of the better competitors that I’ve ever coached. Whether or not she has her strongest days in practice, whether or not she’s feeling her best, when it comes time to race she competes as hard as she can, regardless of the situation,” Coach Lane said. “When she steps up to race, we know that she’s going to be mentally stronger than the vast majority of people she’s racing against.”
Fox said she was never really thinking about the Female Athlete of the Year award or even the Female Athlete of the Championship. She said she had forgotten they were even a thing until the very end.
Coach Lane mentioned how much Fox has grown as an athlete since she arrived at SEMO. He said she was always an asset to the team, but she has shown significant growth.
“I wasn’t as good my freshman year. I remember seeing OVC medals in my teammates’ rooms and being like ‘Oh, I’ll never have one of those,’” Fox said.
A native of Mt. Zion, Ill., Fox has been running since she was in the sixth grade. She was a three-sport athlete growing up, but eventually chose track and cross country to pursue in college.
“I think my favorite part about running is just that what you put into it is what you get out of it. It’s definitely hard,” Fox said. “But when you go to meets and get to race against all these other people and you just see how much you’ve improved is my favorite part. The times don’t lie, and I just love to compete.”
Fox describes herself as very superstitious. She prepares for races the same way each time. She wears the same things, does her hair the same way, and reads the book “Let Your Mind Run” the night before.
Her biggest piece of advice to younger runners comes from a quote her mom has engraved in her since she was little: “Don’t let your highs get too high and your lows get too low.”
“For example, obviously the success I’m having right now is huge, but just not letting that consume you and just staying grounded and continuing to work hard is the way to succeed. Don’t let the lows get you down, just keep pursuing your goals,” Fox said.
On top of being incredibly successful on the track, Fox is also in nursing school which takes up a very large portion of her time.
She describes nursing school as very time consuming and a lot of work, but she emphasizes the fact that she has a really great support system to lean on.
From her coaches, to her family, to her friends, she said they are all there to encourage her when she gets overwhelmed, which she attributes to her success.
Moving forward, Fox is not looking to stop anytime soon.
For 2023, she has her eyes set on breaking the school record for the 1500, while also qualifying for Midwest Nationals.