Tiger becomes a Lion...

Princeton’s Taylor Hamm signed Friday to run track and cross country at Concord University. Joining in the celebration were (seated) Jared Hamm (brother), Bobby Hamm (father), Taylor Hamm, Tressie Hamm (mother) and Rae Manning (sister). Standing are Zen Clements (family friend), PSHS girls track coach Keri Quesenberry and PSHS boys track coach Tank Tunstalle.

PRINCETON — Princeton Senior High School four-sport athlete Taylor Hamm is headed to Concord University. Hamm signed a national letter of intent Friday to run track and cross country for the Mountain Lions.

Joined by teammates from track, cross country, volleyball and basketball, along with relatives and friends, Hamm said, “I’m really excited to be going to Concord because I know their track team is really good and I’m excited to focus on one sport and increase my time. I know the track coach is really good. I’m excited to go there.”

The past two seasons Hamm qualified for the Class AAA state cross country meet and last year she qualified in the 4x100, 400, 800 and 4x400 in the Class AAA state track meet. This year Hamm is hoping to qualify once again in track.

“This year at states I plan on placing. I’m really working hard, running with the guys trying to get faster,” Hamm noted. “The meets we’re going to this year are smaller, so I run with the boys for more competition. I’m excited for states this year and I’m hoping to go up and do big things there.”

The reason for the change in competition is the fact that when the Tigers informed the Mountain State Athletic Conference of its plans to leave the league at the end of the school year, the MSAC schools then canceled all spring sporting events with Princeton squads.

“It’s sad because I don’t get to run against my competition I’ll be running against at states,” Hamm said. “We’ve only had four meets so far and it’s three weeks until regionals. I’m excited to go out in regionals and run.”

PSHS girls soccer coach Keri Quesenberry echoed Hamm’s sentiments.

“It’s been tough trying to find competitive meets. Teams who aren’t in the MSAC have been very cooperative and let us come, but in Charleston there is tougher competition,” Quesenberry said. “The more that you compete in those meets the better off you are at the end of the season. It’s bee hard but she’s been giving 110 percent and I’m sure she will be ready.”

Tank Tunstalle is the boys track coach at Princeton and has also worked with Hamm and seen her growth over the years.

“She’s been here the last three years and we’ve seen her get better and better as she has gone on,” Tunstalle said. “She has progressed so much from when she got here until now. Seeing her progression has been amazing. She gets a chance to work with Keri Quesenberry who ran track at Concord and knows the pedigree of being a champion in track and field.”

Whether on the volleyball court, basketball court, track, or cross country course one thing you can expect from Hamm is her dedication to team and an all-out effort.

“She has always given 110 percent every practice, every meet, but her times have gotten so much better this year,” Quesenberry said. “She has really poured herself into practice and every track meet we’ve gone to. She has improved so much. She is running faster and better this year.”

Tunstall talked about what he believes is her strong point.

“Her will to never quit, to win, to be great is amazing,” Tunstall said. “As young people you want to sit back and slack. You don’t always feel like working hard, going out every day being the best you can, but that’s one child that I’ve never had to say much to, or Coach Q has never had to say much to, to come out and better herself at what she does. She wants to be great. That’s all you can ask.”

Hamm gets tremendous support from her family, her mother Tressie, father Bobby, brother Jared and older sister Rae. Her mother is pleased with her decision and believes Hamm will give it her best try.

“I’m really glad that she chose Concord,” Tressie Hamm said. “I think it’s a good fit for Taylor. I’m happy she has settled on one sport and can emphasize her time and get better in that one sport. I’m sort of proud that she picked running because it’s something she can do continuously, not only through college but after she graduates. You can always run. She picked a life-long sport she can be active in and I’m really proud of her.”

— Contact Bob Redd at

bredd@bdtonline.com;

Twitter @bdtredd

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