When the Mount Vernon Christian boys’ track and field team won a Class 1B state title a few weeks ago, Gabe Taylor was a huge reason why.
The senior won four state titles in individual events — the 100-meter dash, 200, 400 and triple jump — and racked up 40 points as the Hurricanes won their third consecutive state crown.
It was only the second time a Mount Vernon Christian track and field athlete accomplished the feat.
Carla van Rooyen was the first to do so in 2014.
Taylor’s season-ending performance has led to his selection as the Skagit Valley Herald Boys’ Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
At state, Taylor won the 100 in 11.59 seconds, the 200 in 22.68, the 400 in 50.27 and the triple jump at 43 feet, 10 1/2 inches.
His times in the 100 state prelims (11.17) and the 200 state finals are school records.
In the end, Taylor accounted for nearly half of his team’s 82 points. Powered by Taylor and teammates such as hurdler Micah Hays, who won both hurdle state titles, the Hurricanes topped the meet runner-up by 12 points.
Taylor said the way the meet unfolded wasn’t a surprise.
He said there was suspense in the triple jump because he was in the lead but had to wait for his closest competitor to do one more jump. In the 100, he said, the race had to be re-started because someone in the stands yelled “set” to confuse runners.
By this spring, Taylor was a canny enough veteran to get past such wrinkles.
He grew up around track and field because older sister Jacki was also a Hurricanes star. He was also accustomed to high-level competition in boys’ soccer, where he was a solid contributor for the Hurricanes throughout his career.
Taylor said he briefly considered not competing in track this year. He’s grateful he pushed any doubts aside.
“I’m glad I did it, for sure,” he said.
Coach Linda Gudmunson said Taylor set a good example for his teammates, and not just because of his on-track performance.
“It’s never been about him. There’s never been a cockiness to him,” she said. “It was a great example for other kids to see how successful he could be, and how he could do it right ... with humbleness and joy.”
She said when Taylor was young and accompanying his sister to meets, he told Gudmunson he wanted her to still be the coach when he entered the program.
After his season had wrapped up, Gudmunson said she got a thank-you card from the senior. It said, “Thanks for keeping your promise.”