16Ways Track Athlete Taylor Dziatczak Earns Scholarship
Updated: Aug 27, 2018
16Ways Track Club is bursting with pride as member Taylor Dziatczak has been awarded a track scholarship to Ashland University. Taylor's team leadership and commitment to developing her craft has earned her a spot as one of the country's best javelin throwers and one of Michigan's top long jumpers. Congratulations to Taylor!
Read a testimonial from Taylor's Mom below:
My daughter first met Coach Derrick in the summer after her 7th grade year in 2012. While she had participated in several different sports with various organizations, she did not have the opportunity to participate in a track & field program until 7th grade. She had a great year and really enjoyed the track experience. That summer we stumbled on an AAU track meet and were a bit overwhelmed upon our arrival. We were nervous and felt like we would never fit it with the quality of some of the athletes we saw that day. A chance encounter with a former classmate was a bright spot in the day. Finally, a familiar face in the crowd. Turns out the former classmate was there with Coach Derrick and his team. My daughter actually did well in the two races she ran that day, even though she stood out because she didn’t even know how to use starting blocks and ran from a standing start!
Within a day or two, we were able to make a connection with the former classmate through social media and asked him for his coaches phone number. When I called Derrick and introduced myself and described my daughter, he told me he knew exactly who my daughter was. He told me when and where practices were held and invited us to come give it a try. It wasn’t long after we started attending practice that Derrick said to me, and I quote, “She’s got the the whole package. She is fast. She is strong. And she is young.” Derrick recognized the raw talent he saw, and knew he could help her achieve success, if she was willing to follow the program and put in the work.
Soon, Coach Derrick and the team became like family. We were always impressed with the positive coaching style of Coach Derrick. My daughter does not do well with negative coaches. Having such a positive environment made her even more committed with every passing season. Over the years as she was growing up, I would try to get her to take on leadership roles in school, or other situations, but she just wasn’t comfortable or confident enough to do it. I would try to push, but it seemed that just wasn’t going to be her style.
As time went on, I slowly started to see her developing into a leader of the team. As the older kids moved on, and she became the oldest on the team, she blossomed before my eyes into the leader I had tried unsuccessfully to push her to be. Now, she also takes on this role outside of the track team in other situations at school or with friends. What impresses me most is her style when assuming that leadership role. It is an approach of genuinely wanting help others, and always offering support and encouragement. She is modeling the positive coaching style of Coach Derrick, and doing so completely unconsciously, but very confidently.
My daughter is now a senior in high school and this will be her last year with Coach Derrick. This makes us very sad, but there is much to celebrate as well. As Derrick said it would, the reward for the hard work came in time. My daughter has developed into one of the best track & field athletes in the state, and in some events, in the country. She received multiple scholarship offers from colleges including NCAA Division I. Her choice though was to go to a smaller school, and found a perfect fit at Ashland University. Ashland is a Division II school in one of the best, most competitive DII conferences in the country.
I have no doubt that she will be successful in college because of the solid foundation of dedication, patience, skill and leadership that she learned from Coach Derrick.
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