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Triathlete puts club on his back

Matthew Taylor managed to recruit 10 athletes for the Triathlon Club during in his final year as club president. Photo courtesy of Matthew Taylor.

“You can do it. All you have to do is try,” is the motto of the Chico State Triathlon club. Former club president, Mathew Taylor, took this motto to heart when he revamped the club that was on the verge of falling to pieces.

The club was struggling when Taylor took over as club president in 2013. The relationships between the players and coaches were strained, and people started quitting the team.

As president of the Chico State Triathlon Club, Taylor provided the team with brand new jerseys. Photo courtesy of Mathew Taylor.

“The club just didn’t have a lot of direction my first two years on the team,” Taylor said. “I did a lot of training on my own and by the end of the year, it was literally me and one other guy who would consistently go train.”

It was hard for the club to keep people interested enough to stay, and club management didn’t even provide the team with proper uniforms until Taylor took over his senior year.

“We didn’t have jerseys and a lot of people would wear black sport shirts and put duct tape on it that said ‘CSU Chico,’” Taylor said. “We were like the rag tag Berenstain Bears team that was the bad end of a lot of jokes.”

However, Taylor took the challenge of putting his team together again to heart, despite the fact that he had only been involved in triathlons for a short period of time and had competed in just three events. One of the first things he did was go to the coaches of the team and explain the direction he wanted to take the club in. The coaches liked his ideas and saw how passionate he was about this, so they agreed to stay on and help Taylor turn the club around.

“I had one year to create enough structure in the club to make it last,” Taylor said. “After going out and recruiting and letting people know that we were a club that wanted to make a dedicated change in the community and ourselves, we managed to get the club back up to 10 people.”

Taylor’s hard work and dedication paid off as he returned to Chico State two years later to a triathlon club that is alive and well. There are about 25 members now, more than double the amount they had when Taylor was president.

Joining the club as a member gives Taylor the opportunity to look at what all his hard work has done not only for the club, but for the people in it.

“Coming back and seeing how the club has almost tripled in size and still stands for all the values that I wanted it to stand for is very impactful,” Taylor said. “I have a sense of pride now, like this club meant something to them— enough to keep it running and growing.”

The new president of the triathlon club, David Wilson, says he is excited to have Taylor on the team this year and that they have big goals they wish to accomplish.

“We are a sport to pay attention to this year,” Wilson said.

Jason Spies can be reached at [email protected] or @Jason_Spies on Twitter.

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