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Kayla Robinson '19 just did something that only one other Rhino has done in the 129-year history of the Taft School: Kayla hit her 1,000thcareer point during Taft's February 19th, 53-35 win over Miss Porter's School.
"I was so excited! We had been counting down since the beginning of the season when I was only at 724 points," says Kayla. "It was a lot of pressure being so close to 1,000 and so near the end of the season, but I'm so relieved that I made it, and happy it was a home game so that I could celebrate with the Taft community as well as my friends and family."
Taft's first boys' basketball team took the court in 1909; more than 70 years would pass before a girls' team entered the competitive mix. In that time, only one other player—Katie McCabe '04—has reached the 1,000-point milestone.
"Kayla's historic accomplishment reflects her physical and mental toughness, and her work ethic, as much as it does her skill and athleticism," says Head Girls' Varsity Coach Jon Willson '82. "Playing as a 'big' at just 5'8", Kayla gives away at least a couple inches of height to her defender every time she takes the court; she overcomes that deficit by playing harder and having less regard for her bodily safety than anyone else, and by using her speed and quickness to great advantage. Kayla has also improved her post moves, free throw shooting, and mid-range game by working at them relentlessly—and she applies them, always, within a team-first context."
Kayla's tenacity and team-first spirit are not only what make her a great athlete, they are the hallmarks of her long playing career, which started when she was seven-years-old with a stint on the all-boys basketball team at Waterbury's North End Recreation Center and continued with a successful run on her middle school team. Willson first spotted her on the AAU court when she was in 8thgrade. The rest is history.
"She is an extraordinary player and an equally extraordinary person," notes Willson. "It has been a pleasure and an honor to have been her coach."
Kayla is headed to Haverford College next year, where she will compete with both the basketball and track and field teams. Her 1,000thpoint was just icing on the cake of a storied Taft career.
"I am so grateful to everyone who supported me throughout my time here," says Kayla, "and to everyone who helped me get to 1,000."