9-time state champ gets scholarship

Published 10:04 pm Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nine-time state track and field champion James Taylor was awarded a scholarship from the East Suffolk Federated Civic League last week.

Taylor, a Nansemond River alum, is now a freshman at Norfolk State University. The scholarship is given by the civic league in honor of Mack Benn, Jr. It’s the first year the East Suffolk Federated Civic League has given the scholarship said league member Wesley Benn, Jr., but the goal is to make it an annual scholarship to a Suffolk student.

Taylor won seven individual VHSL Group AAA state championships and two relay team state titles with the Warriors. In his senior year, Taylor won the long jump, 55-meter dash, 300-meter dash and 500 meters in the indoor season; and the 200 and 400-meter dashes in the outdoor season.

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Taylor’s four titles at the VHSL Group AAA Indoor Track and Field State Championship was unprecedented. Taylor’s the first athlete in VHSL history to win four state titles at the same indoor meet.

Taylor earned a scholarship as part of NSU’s track and field team. Taylor said the combination of academic work and prepping for the upcoming season, which starts with the indoor season in January, has been a lot of work in the first couple months of his freshman year. Taylor is majoring in mass communications.

Mack Benn, Jr. was the first African-American superintendent of Suffolk Public Schools. Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary School opened in 1998.

“We’re honoring Mack Benn through this scholarship because of his love and involvement in physical education, education overall and sports,” said Wesley Benn, Jr.

“The civic league is dedicated to do this award in his honor each year.”

Anyone wishing to contribute to the East Suffolk Federated Civic League for this scholarship is asked to contact any member of the civic league.