Rosewood resident is proud to be a JCC Jaguar.
While her fellow Class of 2016 graduates are walking across the stage in the Paul A. Johnston Auditorium, Taylor Gales will be representing Johnston Community College at the 2016 NJCAA women's national golf championship at Daytona Beach, Fla.
"I'm so excited," the 19-year-old JCC golfer said. "I've never competed in front of that big of an audience before so I'm pretty nervous. But it's definitely a huge blessing for me, and I'm excited that my family gets to share this opportunity with me."
The daughter of Kathy and David Gales of Rosewood, she is one of two female golfers at JCC this year. Gales started playing golf as a high school freshman. Gales grew up watching her dad, grandfather, and other relatives play golf. Her dad encouraged her to try it, and once she did, she never turned back. She and two other female golfers started the girl's golf program at Rosewood, and competed in the state championship three of their four years.
Gales said she made the decision to attend JCC two years ago because she could get a good education and play golf at the same time.
"I was really excited to continue to play golf and stay close to my family as well," she said. "Coach (Ed) Ransopher came to my high school matches, and we really formed a close bond. I felt like he would be a great coach for me."
Ransopher said Gales has been dedicated and determined to make nationals this year.
"Taylor has proved to be a quick learner and has very good golf skills," Ransopher said. "I have been impressed with the leadership and cooperation she has shown in our golf program."
Gales is graduating from JCC with an associate in science degree, and she plans to continue studying to become a physical therapy assistant. She said she wouldn't trade her experience as a student athlete at JCC for anything.
"I've made so many new friends, and it's just been an awesome opportunity for me," she said.