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This is one of a series of stories checking in on seniors whose final high school sports season was lost. Gresham High's Taylor Ramirez has stayled plenty busy.

COURTESY PHOTO: TAYLOR RAMIREZ - Gresham High's Taylor Ramirez remains on a fast track for success and will study at the University of Portland.Taylor Ramirez had her sights set on qualifying for the state track and field meet for the first time.

But, since her senior season at Gresham High came to a sudden halt because of COVID-19, she has not slowed down.

Unable to chase a state berth in the 1,500 or the 3,000, Ramirez has kept plenty busy.

As a tribute to her grandmother who died when Ramirez was a sophomore and left sewing material to Taylor, Ramirez has made some 200 masks and donated them to local businesses.

An accomplished dancer, Ramirez has focused on taking virtual dance courses at least five days a week.

And she still runs, though she's missing the companionship that is a significant part of the competitive experience of high school sports.

What did she most miss this spring? She said its a tie among several aspects of running for the Gophers. Ramirez is missing the runner's high, missing the guidance from coaches, and missing her teammates.

"I have the greatest admiration and appreciation for all my teammates," she said. "It's really heartbreaking not to be able to share one more season with them going after PRs and a chance to qualify for state."

She didn't get the chance to see of offseason preparation would lead to running the 1,500 meters in less than three minutes, but Ramirez remained a team leader even without a track season. In addition to meeting with friends virtually or in small groups gathered at a safe distance, she stayed in touch with freshmen members of the track program "to keep them positive and make sure they stick with training even though they can't compete."

The state track meet wasn't the only significant competition Ramirez missed out on. She was a member of the Gresham High dance team that had big aspirations entering that state meet, which was also canceled when COVID-19 hit at the end of the winter high school sports season.

Ramirez was set to continue competing as a runner at Concordia University, where she had an academic scholarship. When Concordia announced it would close at the end of the 2019-29 school year, "My heart just broke," she said.

Ramirez had a few options and might have continued competing in college. But she "decided I had to take track out of my life" and accept an academic scholarship to the University of Portland.

That doesn't mean she'll stop running. Ramirez said she plans to train as much as she can during her freshman year in college in order to record fast enough times to be accepted as a walk-on to the Pilots cross country and track teams.

"What I've learned about myself is I need specific goals," Ramirez said. "Also, I was used to interacting with people all the time throughout the day."

She especially misses one on one conversations with classmates, including with teammates during long training runs or breaks at practice.

"There are so many different views about the situation we're in, but as long as you are kind you can maintain friendships and relationships," she said.

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