Taylor Ellis-Watson will be participating in a number of different events at the Penn Relays this week. Ellis-Watson, former Springside School (now Springside Chestnut Hill Academy) star, runs for the University of Pittsburgh’s track and field team, a school that regularly comes to the Penn Relays.
“I’m really excited to come back,” Ellis-Watson said. “Of course, I’ll have a chance to see my family. I’ve been running on the track since I was in eighth grade. I’m excited. We should do really well. I should be running the 4x400, 4x200 and 4x100. So, we’re all excited. We have some really good relays.”
Two weeks ago, Ellis-Watson helped the Panthers’ 800-meter relay to a top-10 finish at the Florida Relays. The team finished ninth with a time of 1:37.07. Ellis-Watson ran with Xauddina Whittington, Jonnique Lawrence and Cambrya Jones.
Ellis-Watson has strong indoor season to help lay a good foundation in the spring. As a freshman, she finished fifth in the 400 meter dash prelims at the NCAA championship meet.
Ellis-Watson earned All-American honors. She ran a season-best 52.75 at the Collegiate Invitational. That was the sixth best time of the indoor season. In addition, she captured a gold medal in the event at the Big East Championships.
“Indoor went really well,” Ellis-Watson said. “It was really good for me as a freshman. I made it all the way to the nationals. I think we’re going to be even better during the outdoor season. We’re excited about the regionals, nationals and Big East Championships.”
Ellis-Watson feels the Penn Relays helps them prepare for league and national competition down the road.
“It helps a lot,” she said. “Everyone always runs fast times at the Penn Relays. It gets us excited for the Big East especially because it’s going to be in Florida where it’s nice and hot. We’re hoping the Penn Relays will give us a big thrill.”
Ellis-Watson had a great high school career. She was chosen as the 2011 indoor and outdoor state track champion. She received All-American honors and took fifth place at the 2011 indoor national champions. Ellis-Watson had a great time running as a scholastic standout at the Penn Relays. Now, she’s returning as a sprinter with the University of Pittsburgh.
It’s always nice to be recognized for your talents. Dustin Wilson, a senior at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, was recently named the 2011–2012 Gatorade Pennsylvania Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
“It’s quite an honor for me,” Wilson said. “It’s a great award. I really appreciate the recognition. I really enjoy running. I started off as a freshman. I worked on my running each year. Cross country has certainly helped me with track and field. I’ve competed indoors as well as outdoors. Coach (Paul) Hines has really helped me throughout my career.”
The award recognizes not only athletic prowess, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. It puts Wilson in an elite class of runners. The 5-foot-6 standout raced to 13th place at the National Foot Locker Cross Country Championships this past season with a time of 15:29.4. Wilson won the Pennsylvania Independent Schools championship in 16:34.66 and earned victories at the Paul Short Run and the Briarwood Invitational. He finished fifth at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships.
“Dustin has a lot of talent,” Hines said. “He really dedicated himself to cross country and track. He started to improve as a freshman. You can see him develop over the years. He really sacrificed and worked extremely hard to become a great runner. He’s been successful in a lot of big national meets. He has a lot of potential. It’s been a pleasure coaching him.”
Wilson, a brilliant student athlete at SCH, has a 4.0 grade point average. He is the co-editor of his school’s literary magazine, a member of the debate club and is a student guide.
He will attend Columbia University in New York City in the fall. He’s excited about going on to the Ivy League school.
“I really enjoyed my visit at Columbia,” Wilson said. “It’s a great school in New York City. I’m looking forward to going there.”