BIDWELL, Ohio — Just a stone’s throw away.
River Valley senior Madison Tabor’s step to the next level of competition in the realm of track and field will indeed be a journey — but one that remains close to home.
On May 16 at River Valley High School, senior Madison Tabor signed a letter of intent to join the University of Rio Grande track and field team.
“It’s been a dream of mine since middle school,” said Tabor. “It has always been a goal. I’m the first person in my family to sign to a college and some day I hope to compete at a professional level.”
Tabor’s signing came on the heels her most recent triumph on the field, having earned a spot at the Region 7 championships following a third place finish in the shot put at the Division II Southeast District at Meigs High School on May 15.
In addition to her success on the track and field squad, Tabor also was a member of the Silver and Black’s volleyball and swimming teams.
Tabor elaborated on her decision to continue her track and field career, along with the possibility of returning to the court as a member of the RedStorm volleyball program.
“Track was my best sport. I have plans to walk-on to the University of Rio Grande junior varsity volleyball team, but track was the sport I flourished in and enjoyed the most. It’s an individual sport in and of itself, but also has a team atmosphere.”
Tabor began her high school athletic career at Gallia Academy, but stated her junior and senior years at River Valley also provided her with her fond memories and opportunities to blossom as a person and an athlete.
“I was warming up with my friend Kelsey Brown,” said Tabor. “I was doing one of my overhead passes and I slipped and fell and the shot actually landed two feet from me. I didn’t know but everyone else was cracking up. That was a fun time. It’s what everyone knows me for — just being goofy and carefree.
“It’s helped me become myself. At Gallia Academy, I felt more reserved and more in a shell. Here, I’ve felt a lot more comfortable in my skin. That’s allowed me to just let go and not take life as seriously. That’s helped me to relax, have fun and better myself in my sport and school work.”
Tabor’s track and field coach was Brent Smith, who noted her leadership as an important addition to his program over the last two years at River Valley.
“Maddee is a natural leader,” said Smith. “I’ve seen it evolve over the two years I’ve coached her. It’s something that wasn’t forced, it’s just something she possesses and an attribute I hope others on the team have learned from and will mimic.”
For Tabor, distance is not only a key element to her chosen event on the track and field, but an important factor to her decision to further her education just eight miles from where she attended high school.
“I like that I can be close to home,” Tabor said. “I’ve always worked well with Coach Wood. He’s worked with me and has always known how to coach me. Of the schools I had opportunities with, Rio Grande was the one I felt most connected to — going away was never in my sight.”
Tabor will throw under the tutelage of another Gallia County native, Rio track and field assistant coach Burt Wood. Wood — who has served as a coach with the program for eight seasons — was candid in his response to the addition of Tabor to the team.
“She’s going to bring a lot to our program,” said Wood. “We have a group throwers already, but having her come in learn and develop along with them it can only improve our team. She has the talent in her and I’m looking forward to helping to bring more of it out.”
Tabor is deciding between two majors psychology or political science then pursuing further education in law school.
In addition to her athletic endeavors at RVHS, Tabor was a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Beta Club, student council, STAND, and the suicide prevention committee.
Tabor currently holds a 3.6 grade-point average on a four-point scale and is the daughter of Bret and Valerie Tabor.
Scott Jones can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext 2106.