By LARRY HYPES
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. —
Taylor made for success.
Taylor Catron, a “go-to” as both a student and an athlete, has decided to attend Hollins University in Roanoke.
Catron, a senior standout for the Tazewell Lady Bulldogs, signed a letter of intent Tuesday at THS to make the decision official. She will be playing at Hollins for head coach Jim Phillips.
“Hollins is an outstanding school,” said Catron. “It offers the two things I am most interested — great academics and a fine athletic opportunity. I am relieved to be able to commit myself to making the transition from high school to college and be able to do that at a place that has so much to offer.”
Hollins, a Division III school of the NCAA, is a member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). Although a team currently without a nickname – known simply as “Hollins” – the prestigious women’s undergraduate program, with some 760 students, is one of the most highly rated in America.
In addition, Williams has the basketball program on the verge of a new era, as the wins are close to being the best in the last two decades of play. Excitement is high and so are the expectations. That holds doubly true for the Catron family.
“Taylor realizes that she is a student-athlete and that the ‘student’ aspect of that is what comes first,” notes her mother, Estella Catron, who has also been one of her AAU coaches as well as a stat keeper over the years. “We are also happy about the possibilities for the team at Hollins. We think the future is bright.”
Catron has been a steady performer during her years at Tazewell, with an average of 17 points per game during the most recent season, as she averaged five rebounds, four assists, and four steals per contest.
“Taylor has been wonderful to coach. She is unselfish and really cares about the team does. Going to Hollins will be a great experience and I think the university is getting a steal with her,” Tazewell girls basketball coach Jason Southworth said. “She brings a point guard mentality to the game. Taylor sees the floor and she will involve her teammates in the game plan. That is a real plus for a coach.”
Catron has a straight-“A” average and the academics figured prominently in her decision.
“I was definitely concerned about the curriculum,” she says. “I am looking at the veterinary program — or possibly a dentist — and last year, the six candidates for veterinary school were all accepted, so that makes me feel really good about the possibilities.”
She adds, “I know that academically, as a biology major, I am going to have to spend a great deal of time studying. Time management will definitely be a priority. I’m excited about playing basketball. Coach Phillips is bringing in some good athletes. I want to contribute and make the team better. I’m excited about getting this opportunity and working with my new teammates.”
Her father, Dr. Glenn Catron, is another proud parent who has also been at the games and at home to help his daughter.
“This is a proud day — I don’t want to get too sentimental right now —but it is something she (Taylor) has worked for since she was about six years old,” Dr. Catron said. “She has gone to camp, practiced out in the driveway and just never stopped working since she decided that basketball was the game she loved the most.”
Dr. Catron remembers some early advice that he feels helped his child to progress as a point guard.
“I told her (Taylor) to use both hands if she wanted to be effective as a guard,” he said. “So, she started working on that when she was still in elementary school. She’d put her left hand behind, then switch every few minutes and put the right hand behind. Now, she can use either one just about equally well.”
Tazewell principal Rodney Reid, who coached Catron during her freshman year, noted, “Taylor is an excellent athlete and a positive force on the court. She does a wonderful job in the classroom. I don’t expect her to have any problem in either area.”
Catron’s brother, Tanner, a junior and a member of the boys basketball team, is pleased and happy for his sibling.
“This is great. I know she will do well and I look forward to being able to watch her play in college,” he said. “I’m sure we will see a lot of the games.”
Taylor, who has played in school and in off-season camps from Hampton, Va, to Kentucky and North Carolina, also credits her brother with helping her to improve.
“Oh, yes, we have pushed each other. I’ve lifted weights, done practice exercises and he (Tanner) done them, too. I have always known that if I didn’t do my best, he (Tanner) would not let me get away with that,” she laughed.