Taylor James: Niwot To Stanford


Taylor James Best Marks

100 - 12.48

200 - 24.76

400 - 54.25

800 - 2:0583

Mile - 4:49

5k - 17:37

High Jump - 5-8.25


Q) Talk about the recruitment process - what other schools were you looking at, and how did you come to choosing Stanford?

The recruiting process was definitely abnormal due to the current circumstances. I was fortunate enough to be recruited by Stanford, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Duke, and Oregon.

As all other recruits in my class, I was not allowed to visit any of the campuses on official visits, which definitely added a challenge to the already difficult decision I would have to make. This year, the process consisted of many phone calls and zoom meetings. Though I was initially concerned that virtual gatherings' impersonality would not give me enough information, I quickly found that this was not the case. Not having a single face-to-face conversation actually brought my recruitment along a different path. The Coaches and I found ourselves racking up quite a few hours of phone conversations, therefore probably talking about running and other elements in my life more than if I had the opportunity to visit campus.

Though there are so many things to consider when picking a place to spend the next chunk of my life, my decision to go to Stanford boiled down to a few simple things. It is a great balance both athletically and academically (which was an aspect firmly guiding my college search).

Coach Clark and I hit it off immediately, and I can very easily picture myself training under him for the next four years. The team is a group of passionate, driven, and most importantly, silly young ladies that I am over the moon to have the opportunity to be a part of. Plus, I couldn't pass up the chance to have another year with my former Niwot teammate, Mary Gillett.

Q) What do you plan to study at Stanford?

That's a tough question! I am interested in a wide array of subjects ranging from biology, journalism, business, and Slavic Languages. Long story short, I am still figuring it out!

Q) What event do you see yourself focusing on at Stanford?

Likely the 800, however I do hope to dabble in the 400 and the 1500. I would also LOVE to consistently take part in the 4x400.

Q) You've had success in every event from the 100 on up to the 5k, and over to the high jump - what would you say your favorite event is, and why?

The 4x400, hands down. The relay is such a unique event: it showcases the grit of the individual and the connection of the team. It truly embodies what track is all about.

There is something special about running as hard as you can for your teammates, trying to make them proud because of all of the hard work you have put in together. It gives me chills just thinking about it.

Q) You had a massive breakthrough in the 800 your sophomore year (2:13 down to 2:05), what would say attributed to your improvements?

Coach Mo, Coach Kelly, and my teammates believed in me before I could believe in myself. I used to struggle with fairly bad anxiety when it came to racing. I placed so much perceived stress and pressure on myself to the point that I would completely lose control of my emotions.

Running wasn't enjoyable. This all changed for me when I took the initiative of my headspace during my sophomore year. I finally gained control over the emotional barrier I had been facing for years. It took me a long time to overcome the negative thoughts in my head, but the most significant difference in the process was making a conscious effort to be overly positive.

Eventually, the effort to do so became purely subconscious. With my Coaches' help in building my confidence and the support of my amazing teammates, I was able to start unlocking my potential as a runner that year.

Q) The first result we have on you on MileSplit is a 13:25 3,000, fourth-place finish at the

Wiggins Cross Country Invite in October of 2013 - what do you remember from this


Ah, good ole' Wiggins. Though I don't remember the specific race, I have run there multiple times throughout middle school. In saying this, I have a vague memory of the course: dry, flat, corn on either side of the dirt road that we ran on.

Overall, it was a boring race, but I remember that the volunteers always had hot chocolate available after races on cold days, which was a welcomed sight to us kids.

Q) What got you interested in competing in XC/Track in the first place?

When I was nine or ten, my dad signed me up for the local 5k road race that he was running. We went on a few runs together to prepare. I remember having a blast with my family on the day of the race. The cheerful atmosphere of those road race 5ks is what made me start falling in love with the sport. From there, my parents signed me up for middle club cross country and eventually track. I loved the sense of accomplishment I felt after finishing the races.

My overall competitive nature pushed me to continue to better myself each time that I ran. I truly developed a passion for the sport once I became part of the Real Training and Niwot community. Being part of a team spun my outlook on athletics entirely. At that point, I was running for something more important; I was no longer just competing with myself. All I've wanted to do since then is to make my girls proud.

Q) Favorite book, musical artist, and movie - GO:

I have to admit, I don't do much reading, but my favorite book would probably be either To Kill a Mockingbird or The Handmaid's Tale . My love for Indie and Alternative music makes it too hard for me to pick one specific artist. As for a movie, it would have to be Oblivion .

Q) What would your favorite high school moment be?

I have made so many incredible memories with my teammates that it is very tough for me to choose just one. Standing out the most would likely be Niwot's 3rd place finish at NXN. It was a moment in which all of our hard work culminated in success. Being able to experience that pure joy and celebration with the girls is something that I will never forget. I will also never be as cold as I was that day. I remember standing on the podium, waiting with the girls to hear the results.

As I shivered uncontrollably (and was a bit delusional), my teammates desperately tried to help me put on my warm-up gear because I was too numb to do so myself. They always have my back. Once I finally warmed up, that night was filled with lots of tears, laughs, and dance parties (more than usual). It also makes me happy to know that our result proved to all of the Coaches that their hard work for seasons upon seasons had paid off.

Is there anything you would like to add?

It is important to me to state that my success as an athlete is credited to the massive support system I have had throughout my journey.

Words cannot describe my appreciation for my dedicated and supportive Coaches: Coach Mo, Coach Kelly, Coach Bloom, Coach Deyja, Coach Wally, Coach Martinez, Coach Straus, Coach Ryan, Coach Jenkins, Coach Jamie, Coach Geldean, Coach Lamar, Coach Lee, Coach Gillett, and many others as well.

I wouldn't be where I am without my parents, who have done whatever they could to help me achieve my dreams. I thank my team for always being there for me through the good and the bad. My life would be immensely different if they weren't constantly pushing me to be the best version of myself I could possibly be. I am forever grateful for each individual's presence and influence in my life.

Also, a note to all of the Colorado runners and Coaches that I have been lucky enough to compete against and get to know...you all are amazing. Thank you so much for pushing me every meet. Being surrounded by a community of talented and driven people has been a great source of inspiration to me.