Taylor Chelak: A Quiet and Strong Student Athlete

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Taylor Chelak: A Quiet and Strong Student Athlete

Junior Taylor Chelak driving the ball during last softball season.

Junior Taylor Chelak driving the ball during last softball season.

Renee Powell Thompson

Junior Taylor Chelak driving the ball during last softball season.

Renee Powell Thompson

Renee Powell Thompson

Junior Taylor Chelak driving the ball during last softball season.

Shannon Clark '23, Contributing Writer

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Have you seen Varsity Volleyball star junior Taylor Chelak in the halls of WHS? Other than the volleyball court or the softball field that’s the only place she’s likely to be found. Playing two sports as a varsity athlete on top of being a student is no easy accomplishment, but Chelak continues to impress all around.

Chelak has always been interested in sports as she has been immersed in a sports-centered family all her life. She has followed in her older brother Steven’s footsteps when she started playing town softball at the age of seven. Chelak played basketball until she reached 12 years old when she discovered volleyball.

She first touched a volleyball at Coach Anderson’s fall clinic and fell in love with the game. She says she loves how unique volleyball is compared to most sports. That winter, she tried out for Cmass, the local club volleyball team. Although she didn’t make the team, she did end up playing MetroWest, a good place for her to start.

Chelak says her most memorable volleyball moment was her first year on the MetroWest team. She went on a serving run during the championship game. Looking back, she said that was what drew her back to Cmass tryouts the following year, later to discover she would make the team.

A close second, Chelak says, was Dig Pink 2018 (her sophomore year). Dig Pink is a popular volleyball match in honor of breast cancer awareness. Prior to the match, Chelak was nervous because there were so many people. Once she stepped onto the court, and was able to be there to support the survivors, she immediately relaxed.

Chelak describes being a starting varsity volleyball player as being cool and special because she is in the volleyball program.

She says, “Being on the bench or on the court, I feel like it is almost like the same thing because you have the same responsibilities. So it wouldn’t matter if I started or not, honestly, because just the team it’s just so much fun and I just love supporting everyone.”

According to Chelak, the hardest part about volleyball is the mental aspect. You always have to be able to read, let mistakes go, think ahead, and remain focused. To the younger players just starting out, Chelak would tell them to not give up when things get hard. Volleyball is a difficult sport to learn and grow, but you just have to let mistakes go and zone in.

Sports have had a huge impact on Chelak’s life.

“We fail more

We fail more than we succeed,” she says, “so you face challenges; like in life. You also learn lessons in the games that you can use in life.”

— Taylor Chelak

than we succeed,” she says, “so you face challenges; like in life. You also learn lessons in the games that you can use in life.”

Her favorite parts of the season are the far away trips. Chelak said she loves singing on the bus rides, experiencing a new environment but with your family, and the “late night vibe but without making any bad decisions.”

As much as she loves volleyball, Chelak hesitantly admitted she loves softball a bit more, only because she’s grown up with it and feels it “fits” her better. Although volleyball is a close second.

Although she loves sports, it isn’t easy being a student athlete. Chelak says it’s difficult having volleyball Monday through Friday, sometimes Saturdays, and softball Wednesday and Sunday on top of her classes. Chelak says she hangs out with her friends about once a month, and often has to skip team events to study for exams, but she has adapted and enjoys being busy.

Since she is always busy, she doesn’t have any time to worry. In her spare time, Chelak enjoys watching her favorite show Impractical Jokers with her dad, her brother, and occasionally her mom even though her mom claims it is “trash TV.”

Not just sports have helped Chelak throughout her life, though. Her brother, Steven, has been her role model since she was younger. She has learned from his choices and admires how he never went with the crowd. “He wasn’t the stereotypical high school boy,” Chelak says, “He was independent” a trait Chelak strives for.  Steven and Chelak share a special passion for the Boston Red Sox, being the odd ones out in a family of Yankee fans. Chelak says her dad used to put on the Red Sox when she was younger when her brother wasn’t around.  Chelak grew to love the game and the team, and at the age of three, could name every player on the roster. 

Chelak is dedicated all around: a loving family member, a valuable athlete, a hardworking student, and a fantastic teammate. She may not be the loudest one, but everyone knows what a great role model she is.