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Lumberjacks lean on Kilgore

Forest Lake grad leads Humboldt State after losing season to injury
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Correspondent
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For Taylor Kilgore, the most painful aspect of being sidelined with an injury at Humboldt State last season wasn’t physical. It was watching the teammates she’d played college basketball with for three years spend their final season on the court without her. “It was really difficult,” said the Forest Lake Christian School graduate, who took a medical redshirt after suffering stress fractures in both of her legs six games into the 2009-10 season. “There was the freshman class that I came with, and we were all seniors and four of us were starting together. Having to be there to watch them, for me, was the hardest part. “But I’m thankful that I had a year of healing. This year’s been amazing.” Indeed it has. Humboldt State got off to a 1-4 start and dropped six of its first nine California Collegiate Athletic Association games. Since Jan. 13, however, the Lumberjacks (12-8, 9-7 CCAA) have lost just once, and they’ve won 11 of their last 15 overall. Kilgore has been no small part of the Jacks’ recent success. Now healthy — the pain in her legs isn’t completely gone, but “it’s minor compared to what it’s been in the past” — the 5-foot-10 shooting guard has started 19 of Humboldt State’s 20 games this season, averaging 6.1 points and 2.2 rebounds in 24.0 minutes of playing time. Perhaps Kilgore’s biggest contribution, however, is that as Humboldt State’s only senior this season and a three-year starter, she has embraced the role of mentor to her younger teammates. “She knows what our expectations are and what it takes to reach our goals,” HSU coach Joddie Gleason said. “She does a good job of teaching our players to understand that.” “I’ve always enjoyed being a leader, and at the end of last year, knowing I would be the only senior and that it would be my responsibility, it seemed like a role I could really thrive in,” Kilgore said. A communications major who is minoring in broadcast news with an emphasis in sports broadcasting, Kilgore bears a striking resemblance to ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews — which is only fitting, since Kilgore dreams of becoming an ESPN reporter herself. Kilgore has already gotten some experience both in front of and behind the camera. She’s a producer and co-host for “Humboldt State Tonight,” a weekly show about HSU athletics broadcast on a cable channel in the Eureka area. At least one of her on-camera segments can be seen online at YouTube.com. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities for on-camera exposure and a lot of opportunities to learn,” Kilgore said. “It’s something I’ll be excited after graduation to pursue.” She’s not starting her job search just yet, however. Humboldt State has six games left on its regular-season schedule — including Kilgore’s final home game on Feb. 25 — and the Jacks have postseason aspirations. When her playing days finally do end, however, Kilgore will cherish her HSU experience as fondly as she does the time she spent at Forest Lake Christian. “I loved going to Forest Lake,” Kilgore said. “They’re a small school, and you have a ton of support. My teammates were like sisters, and we’re still friends today. “I was looking for that in a college, and I’ve found that here. It’s been a great experience.”