Margo Taylor became enamored with Tennessee during her frequent trips there to visit her father’s company. Now she’s going to be spending a lot of more time.
Taylor, who helped Highland Park win its 16th state team tennis title this fall, signed with the University of Tennessee on Wednesday, during the first day of the fall signing period.
“I just love Tennessee,” said Taylor, who has seven UIL state titles to her credit and could break the individual state record if she wins an eighth in the spring. “I fell in love with the campus.”
She’s not the only one who loves the Knoxville campus. HP tennis coach Dan Holden hails from Tennessee and grew up a fan of the Volunteers.
“They’re getting a very mature player who’s a great leader and a great player as well,” Holden said.
Eleanor Watson, an all-state volleyball player and four-year starter for the Lady Scots, also signed with a Southeastern Conference school on Wednesday. She’s headed to Mississippi State.
“I’m used to city life, so I wanted to experience something different,” said Watson, who also considered North Carolina Connecticut, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina State, among others. “I like the program. It’s in the SEC but wasn’t a very big school compared to the others. It’s a perfect fit for me.”
In baseball, two of the Scots’ top returning players signed Division I scholarships. Shortstop Jon Skidmore is going to Baylor, while pitcher Layne Looney signed with the University of Richmond.
“Those guys have been a backbone to our success,” said HP baseball coach Travis Yoder. “What I love about them on the field is nothing compared to what they do off the field.”
Kate Boyer, who won two individual state swimming titles for HP last spring, considered a range of elite schools ranging from Notre Dame to Yale to Duke, but said she signed with the University of North Carolina after visiting the campus twice.
“It was the nicest school,” Boyer said. “They’re the best program that I could find without sacrificing academics.”
Coincidentally, Boyer will be joined at North Carolina by lacrosse player Case Carpenter, who said he also felt at home when visiting the Chapel Hill campus.
“It will be a completely new experience for me, going halfway across the country,” Carpenter said. “The overall community was so different from anyplace else. The people are friendly and the coaches are great.”
Carpenter helped lead the Scots to a Division II title in the Texas High School Lacrosse League in 2012. His teammate on that squad, Tyler Brock, signed with Virginia Military Institute.
“I’ve always wanted to serve in the military and hopefully serve the country,” Brock said. “The type of people who make up VMI really reflect who I want to be.”
Annelyse Tullier, a distance specialist who swims for the Elite Swim Program club team, signed with the University of Denver on Wednesday. And Clayton Woods, the starting center for the HP football team, was recognized for committing to UT-San Antonio even though he can’t sign yet. Woods plans to graduate from HPHS in December and enroll at UTSA in January.