Kane County Chronicle Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year: Izzy Taylor, Batavia

Senior finished season with three state medals and two school records

Batavia’s Isabelle Taylor runs the anchor leg to win the 4x200-meter relay during the DuKane Conference Girls Outdoor Championships at Lake Park in Roselle on Thursday, May 2, 2024.

BATAVIA – Track and field is well known for having athletes show off what they can do in individual events.

For Batavia, however, it was the sprint relays that shined the brightest during the 2024 season with all three earning state medals at the Class 3A state championships in Charleston.

In the middle of all three was senior Izzy Taylor. And given a choice to compete in individual events or relays, she would take the relays any day.

“I always hoped that I’d get at least one relay at every meet because that’s what I look forward to most out of all my events,” Taylor said. “I like doing it with my teammates and it’s a lot more fun when you’re winning it with the people you love.”

Taylor finished her senior season as a four-time DuKane Conference champion in the 100, 200, 4x100 and 4x200, a three-time state medalist in each of the relays and part of two school records.

For her accomplishments, Taylor leaves the Bulldogs with one more accolade under her belt. Taylor is the 2024 Kane County Chronicle Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

While her accomplishments on the track are nothing to scoff at, Batavia track and field coach Justin Allison said it was out of the limelight where Taylor was at her best.

“She’s humble, coachable, respectable and she cares about the team so much. And when you put that with all the accolades, it just adds to it,” Allison said. “Having an athlete like Izzy who’s both athletic and a well-rounded individual, you just wish all athletes like that all the best.

“Some kids are natural leaders, others develop it and others lead by example. And I think she had a little bit of all three of those.”

The relay teams came into the season with a chip on their shoulders after not qualifying for the state finals in all three relays the previous year, including the 4x200 team missing state after being disqualified in the sectional. Putting in the work in the offseason, Taylor and her relay squad teammates made it onto the podium in all three races this year with a sixth-place state finish in the 4x100 and eighth-place showings in both the 4x200 and 4x400.

Taylor said a bond grew between the relay teams, especially with fellow seniors Madison Wilson and Mariah Wilson.

“When you share the track with them, you grow so close to the people that you run with,” Taylor said. “And especially in a relay, you’ve got to have a lot of trust that they’re going to get that baton to you. And I think that being close to the people you run with helps so much.”

Taylor ended her career with the Bulldogs as a 12-time conference champion between indoor and outdoor track seasons, a six-time All-State medalist and having school records in the 4x100 (47.41) and 4x200 (1:40.70).

“Her legacy here is second to none,” Allison said. “She’s deserved everything that she achieved and it wasn’t just on pure athleticism. She has put the time and effort in and that is a beacon for the rest of the team.

“We’ve always had good athletes here. I think of like Natalie Tarter, Kathryn Warner and Brittney Bernardoni, who were all state champions. And even though Izzy doesn’t have one under her belt, I think it’s second to none because she’s duplicated something that’s very hard to achieve.”

When Taylor decided to join the track and field team her freshman year instead of joining the soccer team, she said she didn’t really have any expectations of what she could do on the track. Allison said while most of the newcomers were taking a back seat to the older runners when it came to putting in the work, Taylor stepped right into it from the start.

Four years later, Taylor said a lot of her success was thanks to Allison and the coaching staff.

“They’re always striving to learn more and find new ways to help us and we listen to it a lot and I think that helps,” Taylor said. “But they just put so much into it and they really value it. They’ve always been super nice and are very important to me.”

Taylor isn’t planning on competing in college. She is going to the University of Illinois in Champaign to study biology.

She said that if the state finals was the last time she stepped onto the track, she’s grateful for the life lessons she learned and the relationships she forged.

“Going into it, I just kind of did it just to do a sport. But I’m leaving it with a lot of the people I met being my best friends now,” Taylor said. “It sounds kind of funny because the sport is just about running, but you learn a lot about being a good teammate, helping people out, leadership skills and communicating.”