Taylor Spillane is a gifted runner. This well-known fact may be obvious to running enthusiasts, but to the casual observer Champlain Valley Union (CVU) Head Cross Country Coach Scott Bliss is enjoying bragging rights. “Taylor is, as of right now, the best runner I have ever coached,” he said. “That is male or female. She has become a national level runner this year and has already had the best season of any runner that I have ever coached. Her dedication and work ethic are what has allowed her to reach the level that she is at right now.” Now that’s saying something. Bliss has coached CVU cross country for 15 years.
Born on Jan. 11, 1995, Spillane has lived in Shelburne her entire life. Her family includes parents Stacey and Kevin, younger brothers Burke, a sophomore at CVU, and Harken, an eighth grader at the Shelburne Community School, and a yellow lab named Lilly.
Intent at first on becoming a varsity soccer player, Spillane credits her cousin for sparking her interest in the sport. “I didn’t start cross country running until my sophomore year at CVU. Although I had just made the JV A soccer team, my cousin, Summer Spillane, convinced me to give cross country a try. My very first race was the third of the season and I immediately took to it,” Spillane commented. “After that I decided to go out for running.”
The CVU cross-country team is reaping the benefits of her good decision. Over the last two years with Spillane’s help, the team has won two state titles, two New England championships, and qualified for the Nike Cross National Championships. Obviously Spillane is at the top of her game. An unofficial team captain, Spillane feels training and the ability to stay focused are her greatest strengths. “I’m an upbeat person and I want everyone on the team to feel good. Plus, I show that hard work and effort pay off.” Coach Bliss concurs, “Taylor is an example for some of the other runners on our team. She has shown how dedication and hard work can really help propel them to a different level of performance.”
Talk about a performance. Spillane was at her best at the Thetford Invitational nearly two weeks ago. “I set a new girls course record with a time of 18.56:22 at Thetford on Saturday [Oct. 6]. I really enjoyed the course and I had a great run. It’s my proudest moment,” she shared.
When asked if she had a preferred sport, Spillane had a diplomatic answer. “I actually don’t have a favorite sport. I just enjoy how every sport connects to each other.” In addition to varsity cross-country and track & field running, Spillane was a varsity alpine skier before switching to the varsity Nordic team two years ago. She has also served as a three-year committee member on Working On Respecting Differences (WORD) at CVU.
College after high school graduation is a definite for Spillane. It’s where she will attend college that is the million dollar question. Currently she is exploring all of her options. Although running is not being contemplated, it is relatively assured. After her decision is made, interested readers will know which fortunate college Spillane prefers.