Like most high school seniors, Taylen Stinson has been asked several times during the year about her future plans.
She now has her answer, as the Cody athlete recently committed to run for Rocky Mountain College in Billings next year.
“It’s been that question that everybody your senior year asks and it feels like a lot of pressure,” she said. “That’s lifted now.”
Stinson has won several relay state titles during her career and also three team championships, two in cross country and one in indoor track. She’s also earned All-State honors in cross country, indoor and outdoor track.
“Taylen will make a huge impact on the Rocky team and make an impact immediately,” coach Maggie Kirkham said. “She has a great work ethic and makes everyone around her better.”
When looking at colleges, Stinson first took a tour of Wyoming, but said she was overwhelmed. Visiting Rocky, she left with a much different feeling.
“Just the team culture and how everybody behaved around each other and how they acted towards me influenced the decision a lot,” she said. “It’s a nice campus too. It’s really pretty and historic.”
Last season the Battlin’ Bears qualified for the NAIA national cross country meet. Cross country and track coach Mike McLean has coached eight track and field All-Americans over the course of his career. Six of those are with the Battlin’ Bears.
“Taylen will be a big success at Rocky and will help our program step up to the next level,” McLean said. “She’s a great student and a super athlete.”
Stinson said she enjoys running because it “gives you a chance push yourself to your limits.”
“It lets you see what you can do physically and mentally because it’s a very mental sport,” she added. “It just lets you prove how strong you are and how hard you’ve worked in this particular area.”
Stinson took up track in sixth grade and ran all through middle school.
She began indoor track as a freshman, but her first outdoor season was canceled due to Covid.
During her indoor career she’s won state titles in the 4x400 meter relay as a junior and senior, and the 1,600 sprint medley this year, while helping the girls team to an indoor state title.
“My favorite relay is the 4x400 because it’s the last event, so everybody’s there and everybody’s cheering usually,” she said. “It’s just a different atmosphere.”
In outdoor last year she was part of the state championship 4x800 relay.
This year she hopes to make All-State in the 1,600 and repeat as 4x800 relay champions.
“Making All-State will be challenging for sure, but I think if I train really hard I can get there,” she said. “I want our 4x800 to win again and then be Best of the Best hopefully, like we were last year, and in the 400 I think a sub-60 would be nice if I get a chance to do an open 400.”
It wasn’t until her junior year she went out for cross country, making the switch from swimming.
“We’re a lot closer as a cross country team as opposed to track because in track, everybody has their own events, but in cross we’re all doing 5Ks so we all have to go through the same thing.”
She was a top-three runner for the Fillies until an injury late in the season, but she was still part of the state championship team.
Stinson finished third individually this season while helping the girls to their fourth state title in a row.
“I was really happy with my last season,” she said. “I was never below top three in any of my races. I did train hard all summer, but I did not expect it to go as well as it did.”
The success hasn’t come without sacrifice. During the summer, Stinson averaged between 30-40 miles, running six days per week. To prepare for college she expects to up that this summer.
“I’ll be doing a lot of summer training and strength training to prepare for that,” she said. “But it shouldn’t be too different because Maggie’s workout and training plans are already pretty top tier for high school running.”
Currently she is undecided on a major.
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