KANE – Being a high school athlete takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and determination.
Being a female athlete in a male-dominated sport takes even more of a commitment. There have been a few girls in the history of Kane athletics to wrestle or go out for football, but only Taylor Detrick has played the entire way from middle school through her senior year.
Taylor, the daughter of Jim and Chris Detrick, has been playing organized football since she was a Kane Tornado at nine years old.
Taylor said she never considered not playing, she simply loves football.
Taylor plays offensive and defensive line for the Wolves, with Jim Sirianni being her position coach.
"Taylor has carried on the great Detrick tradition of playing football for KHS," Sirianni said. "From her uncles Dan and Jack, to her dad Jim and brother Zack, Taylor has upheld the great tradition of Detricks succeeding in football.
A dedicated athlete, Taylor exercised in the weight room three days a week during the summer months in preparation for the football season.
"Her bench press is an incredible 270 pounds and she is no doubt the strongest girl ever to play a sport at KHS," Sirianni said. "After football season, she will be back in the weight room getting ready for outdoor track."
The family tradition is evident when speaking to Taylor and her parents. She wears No. 72, the number of her dad’s jersey, and even has a set of official goal posts in the backyard. When asked what she loves about the game, Taylor honestly answers, “Everything. It’s a blast.”
Jim adds, “If you’ve never played football, you’ll never understand.”
The senior truly thinks it is not a remarkable feat being the only female on the team. Asked how her teammates feel about her playing, she said that her gender does not matter to them.
"They don’t treat me any different," she said.
Maybe not, but during the recent Curwensville game, when Taylor ran onto the field, fans could hear chants of "Deets" coming from the stands and the sideline.
As for her opponents’ reaction, Taylor said most times players don’t realize they were playing against a girl until they shake hands with her after the game. There have been a few girls on teams that Kane has played during the past few years, including Smethport and Curwensville, although the Golden Tide player was "only a kicker," further evidence of her lineman attitude.
When watching Taylor with her team, one can tell that there is a great deal of friendship and even respect from her teammates. Taylor said that Sean Jordan, Sean Rolick and Andrew O’Rourke are the only other seniors on this year’s squad to have played every year from the Kane Tornado football program through high school graduation.
Taylor gets a “decent” amount of playing time, and was on the field for most of the win against Otto-Eldred. She was on the team her junior year, but could not play because of a torn PCL [posterior cruciate ligament], which required surgery.
The thought of injury is something that makes her parents nervous, probably no different than other players’ parents. Jim said the experience of his daughter playing football "has been a fun ride."
"It’s scary with her knee issues, though," he said.
Taylor's tremendous strength is undoubtably her greatest asset on the field. Her mom, Chris, remembers one play a few seasons ago when an opponent went storming at her, only to get knocked backwards and land flat on his back.
Taylor has played almost every sport possible in Kane, from youth soccer and wrestling to high school basketball and track and field. She is an accomplished athlete, and is expected to be one of the top throwers in Pennsylvania this track season.
According to Sirianni, who is also the head girls’ track coach, Taylor is poised to have a great senior season throwing the shot put, discus and javelin.
Presently Taylor is third on the all-time list in the shot put at 37’ 6 1/4”, eighth in the discus at 101’ 4” and sixth in the javelin at 102’ 4”.
"Watch for those numbers to really move up this spring," Sirianni said. "I am extremely proud to have been her line coach in football and with coach Rae El Johnson leading the way for her in the throws this spring in track, and she is going to be one of the premier throwers in the state come April and May."
It is Taylor’s dedication and work ethic that sets her apart from many other athletes.
Johnson had nothing but praise for her.
"Taylor is a hard working young woman who always brings a sense of humor to practice. She has this distinct ability to change from light-hearted and presumably care-free, into a focused and very powerful athlete," Johnson said. "She is in the weight room with me every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning in the summer for open-lifts, and then she puts on her throwing shoes and follows me down to the circle for a throwers’ workout. There are few student athletes who are as willing and dedicated to come in and workout on their summer vacation. I’m excited to see where this track season will lead, and where Taylor will decide to take her future."
As for her plans after graduation, Taylor is unsure. She is leaning toward a major in criminal justice, and thinks she might participate in track and field wherever she may go.
The work in the weight room during the summer paid off for Taylor and the Kane Quarterback Club at the team’s Lift-a-thon fundraiser this summer, but cost her dad dearly. Taylor won the competition, benching 231 pounds, less than her maximum but a pound over the leading lifter, dead lifting 355 pounds, and lifting 165 pounds in the power clean. Jim pledged to pay a set amount per pound that Taylor lifted, so his contribution was pretty sizable.
Her favorite football memories include a last second win in Johnsonburg during her sophomore season, and a sloppy game in Curwensville played in a driving snowstorm… further evidence of her love of the game. Her mom adds with pride that Taylor received a "Black Shirt Defense" practice jersey, a big honor for a Wolves’ football player.
Chris is proud that her daughter is not afraid to be true to herself.
"I truly admire Taylor for following her heart and always believing in herself," Chris said. "I hope she has inspired other girls along the way to find the courage to break out of the mold and dare to be different."
The fun-loving loving personality that makes her a hit with all of her classmates and coaches is constantly evident.
When asked about her coaches, in typical Taylor fashion, she said, "I like them all, they're all cool beans."
Taylor Detrick is one of a kind on the field and off of it.