Mary (Wakeham) Taylor- 1975

Mary (Wakeham) Taylor, a graduate of Holy Heart of Mary High School in St. John’s, Newfoundland, first arrived on the Acadia campus during the fall of 1971.

During her high school athletic career Mary was rated by many as the top female athlete in her native province, participating in track, basketball and volleyball. Being a highly motivated athlete who was capable of performing at extreme physical levels, she was particularly praised for her exceptional endurance in the running events.

Being taught and coached in grade nine by Wendy Bedingfield who was to join Acadia’ s Department of Athletics in 1970 Mary was encouraged by her former mentor to enroll at Acadia in 1971. It is reported that she became the first female volleyball performer to have been recruited by the University.

During her initial year at Acadia she competed in both varsity basketball and volleyball, being particularly outstanding in the spiking game. The following year she engaged in junior varsity field hockey and varsity volleyball, while making the latter sport her sole focus during her junior and senior years. It was, of course, in this activity that she truly excelled, being the main cog on the Acadia team for four seasons. Being a power hitter, she was a major force in leading the Axettes to several tournament titles, while individually she was the recipient of several all-star and MVP awards.

At Acadia, Mary was coached by Elizabeth Vermeulen, Wendy Bedingfield and Bill White, each of whom considered her to be an exceptional athlete and by today’s standards a national team level performer. To quote Liz Vermeulen: “She was one of the best all-round athletes ever to perform at Acadia and perhaps the toughest mentally. Being fun-Ioving and highly respected by teammates, she made a tremendous contribution to Acadia athletics.

On the court in playoff action, Mary and teammates succumbed to intercollegiate champs Dalhousie and UNB, winners in ’72 and ’73 and ’74 and ’75 respectively. Individually, however, this highly gifted Canadian junior squad spiker was rated all-Conference. In 1974 she was named her volleyball team’s MVP, while in her senior year she was chosen Acadia’s female athlete of the year.

What a pleasure it is to welcome back for induction to the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame, Mary(Wakeham) Taylor, one of Acadia’s best volleyball performers.