I interviewed Skyler Taylor twice during my time for this little web space and his time representing the Orange Park wrestling team.
The first was during a dual between the Raiders and Fletcher in mid-December of 2013. The second was at the 2A-District 3 meet at Englewood, in February 2014.
My impressions were then as they are now, after we all learned of his tragic drowning off Vilano Beach in St. Augustine last weekend. Although I’d seen many posts offered in prayer for him and his family throughout the week, I held off on a post on it until it was reported publicly that identification his body was found. (Edit: I’ve learned that a GoFundMe has been started for expenses related to his passing).
When I last interviewed him, Taylor was a junior at OPHS, and was very happy to win his title after pinning his way through the draw, helping his team put together a dominant performance. A week later, he came up just a match short of the 2A state tournament.
In the 2014-15 season, Taylor again pinned his way through the draw to win District 3 once again as a senior. The Raiders were able to hang on to the team title there as well. He was able to accomplish what he came just short of in the previous year, qualifying for states with a runnerup effort at Region 1, and won his first match in Kissimmee, going 1-2 there.
I have no words of profound wisdom, besides love on your parents if you’re a teenager reading this, and hug your kids if you are a parent like me. I’m not going to pretend for you all that I knew Skyler Taylor very well. I did not.
To me, Taylor was a friendly, outgoing young man in the two brief occasions I had to interview him. Loved his team. Loved his teammates. Loved wrestling. I saw enough of him, in the many times I saw the Raiders on the mats from 2013-15, to learn that much about him.
And that’s how I will remember him. Whatever your best memories are of Skyler Taylor, remember those first.