Stanislaus State to gain 2016 athlete of the year

Hard work is the key to success for student athlete Taylor Galya. As she nears the end of her last season on the women’s tennis team at Cosumnes River College, she will be preparing for a new beginning at Stanislaus State.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m going to leave because this is the best coaching I’ve ever had,” said Galya. “I don’t really adjust to change all too well, so it will be a new experience.”

Galya began her early athletic successes playing tennis in high school, but it wasn’t until she arrived at CRC when she began to receive recognition for her skills and became the first freshman to win athlete of the year in 2016.

“I was seriously shocked,” Galya said. “Tennis – from where I live – is not really a big sport. In high school, I wasn’t recognized all too much, so there are no words to explain just how that even happened.”  

She later went on to become a helpful peer amongst her fellow tennis players.

Teammate Paradise Whalen, who is just beginning her tennis training this season, appreciates Galya taking the time to help her develop better playing habits.

“Taylor is really encouraging,” said Whalen. “She’s like the mom of the team and she’s always prepared.”

Another player, Jacquelyn Bongacron, said she appreciates the example that Galya sets for the rest of the team.

“She’s like a role model to us because she’s so hardworking,” Bongacron said.

Galya’s hard working mentality manifested into other opportunities at CRC.

“In my experience with sports, each level you get to, you have to grow because the pace is faster,” said Head Coach of the women’s tennis team, Brandon Ellis. “Taylor asks questions all the time and she’s very inquisitive about tennis, college, academics and life.”

Galya works on campus in adaptive physical education for students with disabilities as an aid alongside Ellis.

“It’s an incredible experience. They want to work hard and I like being surrounded by good people,” said Galya. “It’s changed me for the better.”

She was introduced to the program by Ellis. He had found out she was majoring in kinesiology and suggested becoming an aid to help gain more experience in the medical field and for more career options.

“She’s a very hard worker, she has great social and people skills, so in terms of being a role model and emblem for the program, she’s great,” said Ellis. “With her attitude, she’s really going to keep growing.”

Galya earned a four-year scholarship to Stanislaus State to play on the women’s tennis team, led by Head Coach Verek Visaraga. He had gotten wind of Galya in her freshman year and has paid close attention ever since.

“He asked other coaches in the league about me and I guess they said great things because here I am with this opportunity,” said Galya.

Galya is looking forward to learning in a new environment and seeing what Stanislaus State’s training has to offer.

“I am really excited to meet the girls on the team,” said Galya. “I have seen them in that element, and I want to experience his [Versaga] coaching.”  

Galya began the season on Feb. 23 with wins in both her singles and doubles matches and is ready for an exciting last season at CRC.

“I am honestly looking forward to just being in my element this season and living each moment, because I won’t be here much longer so I just want to make the best of it.”