It's great to be a Florida Gator
Mark Pinson | Highlands TodaySEBRING - There wasn't much that Sebring's Taylor Tubbs didn't achieve during her outstanding high school track and cross country career.
Published: February 7, 2013
Published: February 7, 2013
The Blue Streak senior qualified for the state finals in both demanding sports and was the Highlands Today All-Highlands Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year four consecutive years.
Tubbs, who averaged running 30 miles a week, made all of the early-morning training runs and sacrifices pay off in a big way by signing a track scholarship with the University of Florida on Wednesday.
"I'm pretty dang excited," said Tubbs. "All of the mornings I woke up early to run or train were worth it because it paid off.
"It's an awesome experience to be an official Gator myself."
Tubbs had several other schools after her, but once Florida showed interest there was no doubt where she was headed to college.
"I went on an official visit to Columbia University and I was looking at the University of North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville and Southern Mississippi," the Blue Streak senior said. "None of the other schools seemed to fit like Florida did and once I went up to Gainesville and met the coaches my mind was made up.
"Paul Spangler is the University of Florida cross country and assistant track coach and he's low key and not going to get in my face and yell at me, but he's strict which I like, and his training program is what I'm going to do."
Tubbs, who finished seventh in the state cross country finals in November, is also a state qualifier in the 800 and 1,600-meter races in track.
The Blue Streak speedster, who finished seventh in the 1,600 meters at the Class 3A state track meet last year, is looking forward to the challenge of competing against Division I athletes.
"I'm going to start running 60 miles a week because I've got to get stronger and faster to be able to contribute and that's what I'm focused on doing," Tubbs said. "Coach Spangler is meticulous, personalizes your workout and I like everything about him and the program.
Florida won the SEC cross country championship last year and Tubbs is looking forward to helping the Gators contend again this fall.
"Florida gets to host the SEC championships in cross country this fall and that only happens every 14 years," Tubbs said. "It would be great to be a part of a winning team as a freshman, especially to win it in Gainesville."
Seeing Tubbs sign with Florida was a great moment for her family.
"We are very proud of Taylor and never imagined she would be running for the Gators," said mother, Sheila. "We knew she was a good runner because she played soccer at the YMCA. "She had good coaches and support along the way and we're pleased with her choice of Florida because she's not too far from home and we can see her compete.
"She's dedicated and organized and I think she's ready for the next step in her life."
Tubbs will enroll in the summer to begin training and getting acclimated to college life as a Gator athlete.
"I'm moving to Gainesville in June because I want to get used to the campus and train with my teammates," the 17-year-old athlete said. "I'll run cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter and outdoor track in the spring. I've never run indoor track and I'm excited about that.
"It's going to be a new experience being on my own, but I feel like I'm mature enough to handle the freedom and I'm looking forward to college."
firstname.lastname@example.org (863) 386-5837