Black River Falls High School senior Jack Taylor was on the brink of an NCAA Division I basketball scholarship.
It didn’t work out, but he’s decided to take a step that might get him a second chance.
Taylor never thought about playing at a prep school before attending college, but that’s what he’ll do.
The 5-foot-10 scoring machine will take the 20.7-point average he compiled as a senior guard to Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania.
Columbia University was recruiting Taylor and he made a recent visit to the campus. He said the school has told him its interest will still be there after Mercersburg.
“They just signed another guard out of California in the spot they were considering me for,” said Taylor, a two-time All-Tribune first-teamer and two-time AP All-State honorable mention pick.
Taylor, who graduates from Black River Falls this spring, will have one year of eligibility at Mercersburg, a boarding school where he’ll take college-level classes.
“It’s a high academic school, and it will get me ready for college,” said Taylor, who was also pursued by Division II Augustana (S.D.) and will be enrolled as a senior at Mercersburg. “The league the school is in puts out a lot of Division I players.”
A NEW-LOOK DE SOTO: Get ready for a new Pit at De Soto High School.
School officials plan to break ground at 8 a.m. today on a project that will give the school a new track and football field in time for next season.
“It’s all dirt back there now,” De Soto athletic director Scott King said. “It looks like a bomb went off.”
The plan is to slide the football field east — toward the bus garage — and raise it 7 feet. King and football coach Ev Wick said sod and lights would be installed by July.
“It’s being raised because of the flooding problems we’ve had in the past,” King said. “That’s kind of been a constant problem.”
The field is being shifted to accommodate the track that will fit around it.
“I think it’s going to be a really nice facility,” King said.
TWO NEW FOOTBALL COACHES: Viroqua and Arcadia have settled on new football coaches for the 2009 season.
The Blackhawks have turned to Josh Hansen and the Raiders to Derek Updike to lead their respective programs.
Hansen takes over a team that went 4-23 in three seasons under Mike Brown. Viroqua was 1-8 last season.
Updike coached Arcadia to a 23-16 record from 1999-2002 before giving way to Gordy Beyer, who resigned after last season. Arcadia went 5-4 last year.
FOUR LOCAL SOCCER PLAYERS TO VITERBO: Logan senior Rita Rabb is only completing her first high school soccer season, but she will have four seasons to play in college.
Rabb, who previously competed in track and field, will join the Viterbo University women’s soccer program after graduation.
Sparta’s Jessica Stehl and Caledonia’s MaryEllen Schiltz and Brittney Wagner are also part of coach Scott Pirnstill’s recruiting class. They join Tomah’s Nikki Reinart, who signed with Viterbo in February.
CROSSFACE HONORS: Seven area wrestlers have been honored for classroom achievements by The Crossface, which has released its All-State academic teams.
Among juniors and seniors, Tomah’s Kevin Betthauser was selected to the first team. Holmen’s Michael Priem is on the second team, and teammate Ian Hackett earned honorable mention.
Among the freshmen and sophomores, Central’s Cal Thornton and Cashton’s Dillon Flock were picked for the first team.
Holmen’s James Bennett is a second-teamer, and Central’s Michael Keilen earned honorable mention.
STARK TO RCTC: West Salem/Bangor senior Steve Stark will wrestle at Rochester Community Technical College next season.
Stark went 142-39 and qualified for two WIAA Division 2 state tournaments. He also helped West Salem win a Division 4 state football title in 2007 and advance to the state semifinals in 2008.