KCHS grads Hickman, Taylor excel on and off the field at the college level

WORTON — A global pandemic four years ago robbed then-high school seniors Ally Hickman and Peyton Taylor of what we can say with confidence would have been an all-star spring.

They were just days away from the season opener of their respective signature sport — softball for Hickman and baseball for Taylor — when schools across the state and nationwide were shuttered for the remainder of the academic year.

Fortunately, they already had made their college commitments because COVID wiped out a season full of promise for Hickman and Taylor.

Nevertheless, they were chosen as the most outstanding athletes in the Kent County High School Class of 2020.

While the next four years would present other challenges for Hickman and Taylor, which is not unusual for college athletes, this time they were able to finish what they started — and do so with distinction, on the field and in the classroom.

Hickman of Rock Hall, a starting infielder for Division I Towson University, repeated on the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team. She posted a 3.82 grade point average as a communication studies major, while also leading the Tigers with five home runs.

The CSC Academic All-District Team recognizes athletes for excellence in the classroom and on the playing field.

Criteria include a grade point average of at least 3.5 (that is not rounded up) on a 4.0 scale

Hickman appeared in 52 games with 51 starts for the Tigers, who were 22-32 on the season and 10-17 in the Coastal Athletic Association. She had a career-best 29 hits, which included two doubles and one triple — as well as the five homers. She drove in 12 runs and scored nine.

Hickman went 2-for-4 in her first game of the season, a 10-1 rout of South Carolina State on Feb. 10. She smacked two homers in one day against Lipscomb and Furman on Feb. 17 in the Furman Tournament. And, she was 6-for-10 with five RBI and a home run in every game of a three-game series at conference rival Campbell University (Buies Creek, North Carolina) on March 15-16-17.

She boasted a .913 fielding percentage with 94 assists, second most on the team.

In 2023, Hickman appeared in 51 games with 42 starts at third base. Her line included seven doubles, two triples and one home run with 17 RBI.

Over four years, Hickman played in 123 games with 106 starts. She batted .219 with 65 hits, including 20 for extra bases, and drove in 31 runs.

Meantime, in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Taylor, a starting outfielder for Division III Wilson College, qualified for the United East Conference All-Academic Team. He met criteria that included a grade point average of 3.2 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) for the spring semester.

Taylor graduated in May with a degree in exercise science.

He appeared in 33 games with 30 starts for the 20-17 Phoenix.

Taylor batted .340, drove in 21 runs and scored 21.

His 36 hits included four doubles and three home runs.

He was 4-of-7 in stolen base attempts.

Taylor boasted a fielding percentage of .975, committing only two errors in 80 chances.

Taylor played sparingly in the 2023 season, appearing in 11 games with one start. He batted .250 with four hits, four RBI and four runs scored.

He also was a member of the Phoenix’s golf team in 2022-23.

Taylor spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at Cabrini University (Pennsylvania) as a baseball recruit; he appeared in a total of 15 games with three starts, and batted .250

(Villanova University officially assumed ownership of Cabrini’s 112-acre campus in Radnor as of Friday, June 28. The Cabrini campus will be closed for about two years to make necessary infrastructure updates and renovations, according to Villanova.)

In case you have forgotten, Hickman (field hockey, basketball and softball) and Taylor (football, basketball and baseball) were triple-threat athletes at Kent County High School, graduated with Distinguished Honors with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.67, and received certificates of merit as dual completers in the Career and Technical Education program.

Plus, they were team captains, team MVPs, all-conference performers and region champions.

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