Rocklin High’s Taylor Shillingburg signs letter to UNLVBy: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
Rocklin High senior Taylor Shillingburg signed an NCAA National Letter of Intent Friday to attend the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) on a diving scholarship.
The fascinating aspect of Shillingburg’s story is she didn’t start diving until 13 months ago. Her sports were tumbling and diving until she suffered a severe knee injury and could no longer compete.
“[T]wo years ago I tore my ACL and had surgery,” Shillingburg said. “So I wanted to find a sport where I could use my tumbling ability and so I found diving.”
With the help of her family, she enrolled at Dos Rios Divers under the direction of coach Michael Brown. Shillingburg’s progress was amazing and in her first year of high school diving qualified for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section championships.
Brown said Shillingburg’s ability, attitude and work ethic were big factors in her rapid rise to success. He said she was also courageous, explaining that diving is painful and when a diver gets hurt it takes courage to climb back up to those heights and try that same dive again.
“[I]t takes a kid who is mentally tough and that’s what Taylor is,” Brown said. “And that’s what takes her from a non diver to a Division I college diver in 13 months.”
Brown has spent nearly six decades in diving and has taken some of his athletes as far away as China to compete. Dos Rios Divers is a part of USA Diving and the AAU. He said the serious athletes are those that compete year round in club sports. He said the high school diving season is only about 13 weeks, not enough time to become proficient enough to earn a scholarship.
“Sweet kid; I love her to death,” Brown said of Taylor. “Great family, good student; she’s just got everything you want to have in a young person.”
Shillingburg is the daughter of Mark and Barbara Shillingburg of Rocklin. Taylor Shillingburg said she is yet undecided on what she will study at UNLV but likes both psychology and photography.