It has been an eventful year for Aubrey freshman Kaia Saylor.
Saylor, a three-sport athlete, is building quite the resume in her first year of varsity play.
As the inside hitter for the Lady Chaps, Saylor was a first-team selection for District 11-4A in volleyball, as well as Newcomer of the Year.
After basketball season, coaches voted Saylor as Newcomer of the Year for her contributions as the Lady Chaps post.
Saylor currently participates in the high jump, triple jump and relay events for the track team.
On March 23, Saylor broke the 10-year triple jump record held by Jennifer Robbins with a length of 3- 1/4 – while battling a nagging quad injury.
Saylor doesn’t consider herself a freshman when she takes the court or the track; she considers herself a product of a healthy environment.
“When I was younger, my family encouraged me to play in different sports,” Saylor said. “At a very young age, I was always enrolled in different summer camps where I could train and get better. As I got older, my coaches gave me the opportunity to participate in different summer camps, so I’ve been involved in sports basically my whole life.”
Saylor has the competitive gene. She shares a sibling rivalry with brother Andrew Jevon Saylor who graduated from Aubrey in 2014.
“I wanted to be better than him in basketball so I trained really hard while I was playing volleyball,” Saylor said. “I’m doing better than he ever did in track so I feel really good about that.”
Saylor’s drive has caught the attention of track coach Kristin Giddens.
“Her competitive spirit and God-given athleticism is going to continue to raise the bar for the athletes around her,” Giddens said.
Freshmen Gabi Grisso and Kathimae Dow motivate Saylor to work harder to see who can be the best.
“Being competitive gets me going,” Saylor said. “They definitely push me to work harder.”
But Saylor thinks that she hasn’t reached her peak and there’s more to come.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Saylor said. “As a freshman, I’ve done really good but I think I can get better because I’ll have more time with my select teams over the summer.”
Lettering in three different sports is a unique feat that calls for high expectations.
“It makes me really nervous thinking that this could be the best I could ever be,” Saylor said. “It’s rare for a freshman to be on varsity in three sports, but that just invites more expectations next year. That scares me.”
Fear can cripple or empower. Saylor uses her fear of failing as fuel to continue the grind.
“I think the fear of failing makes me work harder,” Saylor said. “It pushes me to not be satisfied with what I’ve done so far.”
Joshua Okeke covers sports for The Post-Signal.