From the time she was born, University of Utah tennis player Taylor Calton has been immersed in the sports world because both her parents were athletes. Calton has always had athletic blood running through her veins, and at the age of six, she discovered the sport she wanted to delve into; a sport that neither of her parents had knowledge of or interest in.
“I started doing camps when I was six,” Calton said. “My parents didn’t really know anything about tennis, but my dad would take me to the camps, and they both supported me. I fell in love with and put all my interest in it. I never played any other sport, and when I found this one, I just stuck with it.”
Calton not only started playing at a young age, but she also matured in the sport quicker than others. Understanding the aspect of the game and learning from wins and losses was key to her success in high school and has been through her college career.
“My parents and coaches taught me that I needed to learn from defeats at a young age,” Calton said. “I think I finally got a grasp of learning how to deal with defeat and use it as motivation when I was nine or 10. That feeling of success that you get is what motivated me to do better, and I had to learn that from defeat.”
Calton played two years of high school tennis with the hopes that she would get on the radar of college coaches, and she began to do exactly that. In her time at Lone Peak high school, she helped lead the Knights to two state titles her freshman and sophomore season, while also winning the state singles title in 2012. Along with her state championships, she was awarded the Hillary Doyle Sportsmanship Award, and she was recognized as the Utah Female Athlete of the Year for all sports.
“When she won the athlete of the year award, that was one of my proudest moments of [the] year as a dad,” said Matt Calton, Taylor’s father. “When she was six, she immediately took the game and wanted to do everything she could to be better. Being recognized as athlete of the year validated all the many hours and hard work she put into her game and goals throughout her life.”
One of those goals in particular that Taylor had her eyes fixed on since she first started playing, she has officially crossed off.
“I’ve always wanted to play for the University of Utah,” Taylor said. “When I was young, I remember seeing a poster of all the players on the tennis team, and I just remember thinking that I wanted to be on that poster one day. Now that I’m there, it means so much to me. I love the team aspect of college tennis, you’re no longer just playing and representing yourself. I get to represent the school I play for, the one I always wanted to play for.”
As Taylor enters her junior year, she has more goals in mind that she wants to accomplish as a Ute — not just on the court, but in the classroom as well.
“I’m excited to be able to play more at the University,” Taylor said. “College play is the peak of my career. We have big tennis trips planned for the upcoming years, and I’m excited to continue to improve. My goal is to go out there and play my game, have fun and get my degree. I’m going to push myself hard, continue to grow and see where I can go.”