Taylor Peck’s path to success starts with being an early riser.
Mondays through Thursdays, Peck punches her alarm clock at 5 a.m. The Oswego East senior does early lifting to 6:30 a.m., then transitions to cardio until school starts.
There’s a room full of football players, and Peck.
“Usually it’s just me – I’m the only girl,” Peck said. “I do the same workouts as them, but I do my own thing.”
Peck’s been a big part of lifting the Oswego East soccer program up. She was one of nine Wolves promoted to the varsity as freshmen.
Last week was a watershed moment for the Wolves’ program. Peck had the tying goal in a 4-4 tie against powerhouse Waubonsie Valley, a team that beat Oswego East 10-0 in regionals just two years ago.
“That was probably one of my favorite memories of the season,” Peck said. “We’ve struggled against that program in the past.”
It came days after Peck scored a season-high four goals in a win over Plainfield East.
For these efforts, Taylor Peck is the Ledger Athlete of the Week.
Peck has 19 goals and 12 assists for the season, both team-highs, and for her career 67 goals and 30 assists.
The score against Waubonsie was a big one, rallying the Wolves from two scores down.
“Taylor had been threatening all game, making runs up the sidelines,” Wolves coach Juan Leal said. “She had an opportunity before that and made a defender miss but missed a shot. She kept going at the defense and made it count when we needed it most.”
That’s Peck, a player teammates know they can count on.
She’s been a rock for first-year coach Leal, and versatile at that. Peck’s played forward the last six or seven years, but she’s been called upon to play defense for the first time ever on a couple occasions.
“She’s very smart, she understands the game and she wants to learn,” Leal said. “Working with Taylor has been a learning experience. It’s fun to see a motivated player in practice that’s such a positive role model.”
Peck started lifting at the end of basketball season last March, to improve at both sports.
“I just feel stronger on the ball,” Peck said. “It gives me more confidence on the field, knowing that I’ve worked hard for something.”
She isn’t one that is afraid to put in the hard work.
Peck actually played travel softball for 10 years, and was a key part of Oswego East’s two conference champions and one regional champion in basketball the last two years.
It’s soccer, though, that she will play at the University of Indianapolis. Top seven percent in her class with a 4.2 grade point average, Peck plans to pursue a degree in physical therapy.
“Watching Taylor come off of basketball where she played a lot and still have the excitement and energy she has, it’s really special to see,” Leal said. “As a person, she is just a phenomenal girl. She is synonymous with Oswego East soccer.”