MANSFIELD — Nobody would blame Taylor Huff or Cade Stover if they chose to rest on their laurels, but it’s just not in their DNA.
The drive to compete is a characteristic the newly-minted Richland Bank female and male athletes of the year have in common.
Huff, a sophomore at Madison, and Lexington’s Stover were the big winners at the third annual Richland Bank recognition breakfast Thursday morning at the Renaissance Theatre.
Both are major college recruits — Huff already has verbally committed to the University of Tennessee women’s soccer program and Stover will play football at Ohio State — and both decided to run track for the first time in their high school careers this spring.
“Spring is usually my down time in terms of being competitive, but it feels good to get that adrenaline rush,” Stover said. “I’m glad I did it. I’m friends with all the guys on the track team and it’s been more fun than anything else.”
“I’m definitely glad I came out,” she said. “I think it will be helpful for the soccer season, too.
“I don’t like to lose.”
The Rams haven’t done much losing with Huff on the pitch. Madison is 37-4-3 with two Ohio Cardinal Conference championships and two district titles in her two varsity seasons. The Rams reached the Division II state semifinals in 2017 and fell to eventual state runner-up Bay Village in the regional semifinals last fall.
She had 34 goals and 21 assists as a freshman and 31 goals and 19 assists last fall. She has twice been selected to the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association All-Ohio first team in Division II and is a two-time All-American.
A senior, Stover is among the most celebrated high school athletes in Richland County history. He landed a spot on the USA Today All-America defense, was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Ohio and won the coveted Mr. Football award. He led the area in tackles each of his four years and will graduate with a program-record 592 stops.
He was a two-time All-Ohio first team pick in football and a two-time All-Ohio second-teamer in basketball. He is the program’s career scoring and rebounding leader and led Lex to the Division II Final Four in 2018.
“Looking back, I don’t think there is a lot I would change about my high school career,” said Stover, who will graduate on May 26 and heads to Ohio State the following week. “It’s hard not to be happy, but I’m ready to get on with the next chapter. It can’t come quick enough now.”