From competing in basketball to singing the national anthem at Benson Bobcats home games, Shaylin Taylor has always enjoyed sharing two of her talents before and during basketball competitions.

Taylor’s love for athletics began when she was 9 years old. Before she took to the athletic fields, however, her favorite activities were ballet and dance. But athletics is not the only area that holds Taylor’s interests. She enjoys rodeo (having competed in barrels and poles), drawing, calligraphy, woodworking, wakeboarding and kayaking. Ever since she can remember, Taylor has definitely had a love for singing.

“Shaylin was probably singing even before she could talk,” Shaylin’s mother, Ammi, said.

Taylor can often be heard singing the national anthem before Bobcats home volleyball or basketball games. She has sung the anthem individually, with her mother and aunt, and even with several of her family members that included her mother, three of her aunts and two of her uncles, her cousin, and her grandmother and grandfather, Maakestad. She often takes part in her varsity basketball team’s warmups and pre-game discussion before taking the microphone to sing the national anthem for their game.

In addition to singing at school events, Taylor is a member of her church’s worship group – singing at Sunday services and church events with her mother, her Aunt Deborah and her grandparents, DeeDee and Pete Maakestad.

A three-sport athlete, Taylor competes in volleyball, basketball and softball. It is basketball, however, that holds her interest. Competing for the varsity Bobcats since she was a freshman, Taylor admits that basketball is her favorite sport. Last year she received second-team all-region honors.

“When you’re an athlete, it’s a challenge managing your time between sports, school work and your family,” she said.

But for Taylor, part of her family is always with her during her basketball practices and competitions as her father, Brian, is one of the Bobcats’ assistant coaches.

“My dad has been coaching me in sports since I started competing when I was 9 years old,” Taylor said. “He helps me a lot, pushing me every day to work hard and do my best. He always reminds me that academics come first. He has taught me good values, provides for our family and is always there for me. He is my role model.”

Brian, a Benson High School graduate who has been coaching with the Bobcats for 17 years, sees his oldest daughter as a dedicated athlete willing to put in the time and energy it takes to be successful.

“Shaylin is a hard-working athlete who puts in a lot of time and effort into her sports,” he said. “She is outgoing, always helpful and just an overall nice person.”

Taylor’s mother, a Benson High School alumni, also sees positive qualities in her oldest daughter’s many talents.

“Shaylin never ceases to amaze me,” Ammi said. “I know she has worked hard to get to where she is as an athlete. She always puts in so much extra time to get to where she wants to be. She is an amazing daughter and big sister with a heart of gold. She is very precious to our family and our extended family.”

Taylor knows that there are many qualities that athletes need to work on beyond the physical challenges of the sports.

“A good athlete needs to have determination, be positive and stay humble,” she said. “I want to be a good teammate who is always there for my team. I want to be better at the end of the season than when the season started and I want to have fun playing sports.”

After high school, Shaylin plans to attend college to study for a career as a neonatal nurse.

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