Taylor Schoonveld does so much for Kankakee Valley, she had to modify which events she’ll run as a junior to make sure she can get it all in.
As a freshman, she qualified for the state and was sectional and regional champion in the high jump and sectional champion in the 400 meters. She also runs relays and could even pole vault, if necessary. She still holds the middle school record. Schoonveld ran distance as a kid, too.
“The word ‘versatility’ doesn’t even do her justice. She could literally do any running event she wanted,” Kankakee Valley coach Lane Lewallen said. “She’s just a phenomenal all-around athlete.”
Schoonveld will move away from the 400 and into the 300 hurdles this season. It’ll help her move more smoothly through meets.
At the 2019 regional, the call was made for the 400 while she was in the middle of the high jump. Schoonveld and KV coaches had to make a choice.
“We didn’t make that decision lightly. She’s a defending sectional champion in the 400. But we feel like we can still be really strong there (this season),” Lewallen said. “I wasn’t going to have her bust out a 400 and then jump tired.”
Lewallen believes it could be the deepest Kankakee Valley team he’s coached, so Schoonveld can focus on the events where she has the best chance at success in the postseason.
Schoonveld isn’t just a versatile track athlete. She’s a versatile athlete, in general, playing three sports for the Kougars. She’s a key member of both the basketball and soccer teams. Soccer is the least prioritized, as she’s only played it seriously for a few years. Track is the most.
“Track was just something I’ve always wanted to do, I’ve always enjoyed doing,” Schoonveld said. “It’s a lot easier to train for. You can do it all the time. You just kind of run.”
Schoonveld posted a personal record in the first meet of the year with Twin Lakes and Pioneer, jumping 5 feet, 6 inches. She also ran a 17.39-second 100-hurdles, a 48.8 in the 300 hurdles and anchored a 4:25.51 1,600 relay.
“I feel like every team needs someone to lead them and being in multiple different events, it definitely helps me be a leader,” she said.
The cancellation of spring sports last season was a big disappointment for Schoonveld. She was ready to make another postseason run.
“I feel like in the beginning of (last season) I was doing really good in my time trials and I just felt really strong,” Schoonveld said. “To get that taken away, it definitely still haunts me a little bit.”
That made her more hungry for this season. Making it back to state and moving up a couple steps on the podium is the goal.
Lewallen believes she could reach that goal in multiple events.
“She’s going to be expecting nothing less than extremely high goals and (personal records),” Lewallen said.