Two Republic athletes committed to continue their careers in college. Kaitlyn Snyder will play tennis for Eastern Illinois University, and Michael Taylor will wrestle at Hannibal LaGrange University.
Snyder to Become a Panther
“Her record––it didn’t happen by accident. It’s all that hard work she put in in practice, during the matches, and working in the off-season,” said coach Dan Vales.
Snyder said she’s looking forward to growing physically, mentally, and emotionally during her time at Eastern Illinois, and she’s also looking forward to “taking tennis to the next level, because I know that college tennis is a different level. But I’m ready.”
Snyder chose Eastern Illinois after a visit confirmed that the university and the tennis program offered what she was looking for.
“I went there and I met all the girls and I liked them so much,” Snyder said. “They were all so sweet, and I could see myself going there for the next four years.”
Taylor Chooses Hannibal LaGrange
Taylor is a three-time state qualifier who will be trying to qualify for his fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament when he wrestles at districts this weekend in Union. He has won more than 150 high school matches.
“We can’t stress enough how much we’re going to miss him (and) his leadership in the room,” said coach Jerry Morton. “But we’re encouraged and excited about the future ahead of him up at Hannibal LaGrange.”
Among his experiences at Republic, the lesson Taylor will take with him most is “never giving up. You can always keep going and always create a moment. Even if you’re down by 14 points, you can still win the match. It’s not like in basketball, when you’re down by 21 with a minute left, your chances of winning are very, very slim. In wrestling, you can be down by 14 points with a minute left and catch someone in a pin and pin them.”
Taylor said he chose Hannibal LaGrange for several reasons, including how the coaches treated him during the recruiting process.
“I really liked how the coaches made me feel––like I’m important and not just another person going out there and getting a medal for the team,” he said. “And I really liked the schooling and the environment and how polite everyone was with each other. And it being a Christian college helps even more, so I can keep building my relationship with God.”