It's not easy being Taylor Johnson.
Competing in four sports while maintaining straight As and participating in several school clubs makes a day in the life of the South Central junior worthy of a 5-hour Energy commercial.
"I do love to be active," Johnson said. "I've got a lot of (sports) patches, I don't know where I'm going to put all of them. I try to balance it all. If it's late when I get home and I have to do homework, I try not to think about how tired I'm going to be in the morning."
The spring is especially hectic for Johnson, who is involved in both track and softball. A regional qualifier in the 100-meter hurdles and long jump, she realizes her track success would be enhanced by focusing solely on the sport, but the thought of not playing softball isn't even a consideration.
"I really enjoy both," Johnson said. "My favorite actually changes every season. I've played softball all my life. It would be a really tough decision. I don't know what I'd do."
Track didn't enter the sports equation for Johnson until middle school. She started hurdling and long jumping right off the bat and has developed in both with little specific training. She won both events in the Porter County Conference meet last spring and holds the school record in the 100 hurdles.
"She's a natural in about anything she does," track coach Rachel Werner said. "She does four sports and she's good in all of them."
When there is an overlap, Johnson defers to PCC events. If that doesn't apply, she decides based on which team needs her more that day.
"If I happen to miss a couple softball games, I try to even it out," she said. "The coaches are really nice about it. If I have a softball game, Rachel will always ask how it went."
At a Class A school like South Central, athletes, especially ones like Johnson, are at a premium, so coaches understand the necessity of sharing talent. One day last week, with home contests scheduled in both sports, Johnson was going to try to do a little of both, but the weather got in the way.
"She could definitely handle it," Werner said. "She's willing to do what she needs to do to help either team. She's a workhorse. I wish I had a copy machine to make 21 of her. She's a coach's dream."
Werner has known Johnson since she was 5 or 6. Her daughter, Kyleigh, S.C.'s distance star, is four days apart in age from Johnson and has played sports with her for a decade. When Kyleigh qualified for state last spring, Johnson was among the girls who made the trip to Bloomington to watch the meet.
"As we were leaving, she came up to me and said, 'I'm going to be here next year,'" Coach Werner said. "She's got a lot of determination. She's a hard-working, self-motivated kid."
Johnson credits that to her parents, Dave and Julie, both former Satellites athletes. She hopes the experience of watching the finals will serve her well.
"It made me really excited for this season," she said. "The season was over and I was ready to start the next season. If (I make it to state), it will be a heads up for what it will be like."