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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Sports

Senior thrower in midst of historic season


Senior Taylor Scaife said she has elevated her game in 2019 due to her work ethic in the weight room and help from coaches. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

Senior thrower Taylor Scaife has established herself as one of the elite throwers in UH history. Scaife won five meets this indoor field season and reached a ranking as high as No. 1 nationally.

Scaife has dominated the field so far this season. She has not lost a weight throw this year and has consistently performed at a high level.

It has been a long journey from Mississippi to Maryland to Houston, but winning the American Athletic Conference Championship would be the icing on the cake of an excellent season.

Record setting

Scaife had her first appearance of the season in the Leonard Hilton Memorial meet. She threw over 20 meters on her last throw of the competition. The effort was good enough to win the event and was almost two meters further than the runner-up at the meet.

In her next meet at the Red Raider Invitational, she threw under 20 meters on only two of her six throws. She picked up her highest throw of the day on her third when she threw 20.93 meters, which set a new school record.

Scaife came back to Houston in the following meet to beat that same record once again. In the Houston Invitational, Scaife threw for 22.65 meters after she won the AAC Female Field Athlete of the Week award the week prior.

“It was a really good feeling having that big throw,” Scaife said. “My teammates are doing well, and practice has been super fun.”

While she has not broken the record again since, she is still undefeated this season, and she beats the next-closest competitor by an average of 2.26 meters.

To give her performance this season a little perspective, she has beaten the men’s all-time school record, 19.10 meters, in all but two of her throws and broken the women’s record three times. But her performance this season is not necessarily surprising.

She had much success in her previous three seasons, and this is just the latest since she has arrived in Houston.

Big city living

Born and raised in Mississippi until middle school, Scaife knew she wanted to move back south for college after finishing high school in Maryland.

Her only other qualifier? Getting into a big city and away from sleepy little towns. Her research into universities led her to Houston, which had open slots on the throwing roster due to graduating seniors.

“I came to a family reunion here in Houston during my junior year and I was like, this city is amazing,” Scaife said.

Between the people and the food culture, she fell in love with the city and made the first move toward securing her future in Space City.

She reached out to coach Will Blackburn about attending UH and competing for the Cougars, and he went out to a Junior Olympics track meet in Humble. As Scaife said, “the rest is history.”

Title hunt

After making Houston her new home, Scaife quickly had success. But this offseason, she pushed herself to new heights with a new lifting routine.

“It was the weight room that had a big impact,” Scaife said. “Just doing things that transfer over to the throws has been a big piece.”

This weekend will be a big test for Scaife and one of the Cougars’ toughest tests of the season at the AAC Championships.

Scaife won bronze in 2017 in the weight throw, but she is competing at a level she has never been at before, which has given her confidence.

“I’m super pumped,” Scaife said. “We’re doing some great work out here, and everyone is zoned in and focused. I took the weekend to study some film and rest.”

Scaife will have another chance to add to her legacy at this season’s AAC Championships in late February. The women’s indoor track and field team will need her to produce if it wants any chance to win its first ever Indoor AAC Championship.

“The goal is to throw big, throw far and win an individual conference championship and a team conference championship, which I believe without a doubt that we can do,” Scaife said.

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