Another Adams County student/athlete has begun the journey to a sports career beyond the high school level. Last Friday afternoon, North Adams senior Taylor Gast, with a large contingent of family members and friends present, made it official by signing her letter of intent to continue her basketball career as a member of the University of Rio Grande Red Storm.
Gast recently completed her senior year as a Lady Devil, where she averaged 7 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals per game, being a big part of the 19-5 North Adams season. Not only did Gast excel on the hardwood, but she was also a standout on the soccer field, where she holds numerous North Adams scoring records.
Gast was quite clear in her reasons for picking Rio Grande to continue her athletic career and her education.
“I picked Rio Grande because I really liked the atmosphere of the campus because it reminded me a lot of home,” said Gast at the signing ceremony. “It’s close to home and I liked the people and the coaching staff there and I think it just fits me well.”
“I am going to study Health Administration, then hopefully I can be like a manager at a hospital.”
The Red Storm are an NAIA Division I school and will be making a big change when the 2014-15 season rolls around. Rio Grande will be leaving the Mid-South Conference and becoming a member of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC). They are coached by Peebles native David Smalley, who will be beginning his 23rd season at the helm.
“Taylor has a lot of what I consider upswing,” said Coach Smalley. “She’s a good point guard who can shoot the three and has the ability to handle the ball. At our level, you have to have a good dynamic point guard.”
“We have an All-American point guard who will be a senior but you have to look ahead and bring a couple of freshmen in to get them to the point where they can step in after this year. Taylor is a hard worker and I like her tenacious ability to defend. She comes from a good program and I get to reap the benefits of that.”
North Adams head coach Rob Davis knows that losing Gast will leave a gap in his program, but is thrilled to see another of his Lady Devils move to the collegiate level.
“Taylor has been a great kid on the floor and in the classroom,” said Coach Davis after the official signing. “It will be hard to replace her defensive quickness . She’s a competitor but at the same time she kept the other girls loose out there.”
“She was a lot of fun to be around for four years and she will definitely be hard to replace.”