Taylor Wilson
Taylor Wilson is a standout player for the San Marcos High School indoor and beach volleyball teams. She helped the indoor team win the Channel League title as a junior this past year. (Noozhawk file photo)

Taylor Wilson was a baby when she was exposed to Stanford athletics as she attended the “Big Game” between the Cardinal and Cal football teams with her grandparents.

The senior-to-be at San Marcos High School will become a member of the Stanford athletics family after she graduates in 2021. She recently passed the school’s acceptance process after receiving an offer to play beach volleyball for the Cardinal.

“I cried, both when coach (Andrew) Fuller offered me the spot in the process and when he told me I was accepted,” said Wilson, a standout on the indoor and beach volleyball teams at San Marcos.

“There is so little to celebrate in these difficult times, so I feel very lucky. I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue my education and play beach volleyball in my future.”

She credited a host of people for making her dream come true.

“There is such an incredible group of people surrounding me, including my parents, my brother and sister, numerous teachers, amazing coaches and friends (adults and kids), who have continued to support me along the way,” she told Noozhawk.

Taylor Wilson

Taylor Wilson caught the attention of Stanford coach Andrew Fuller when she won a gold medal at a college showcase beach volleyball competition last year. (San Marcos High School photo)

“I don’t know that I can be thankful enough. It really is a dream come true, so it still feels surreal.”

Stanford has always been her dream school.

“For as long as I can remember,” Wilson said. “I have always been focused on academics, and Stanford was someplace I was really drawn to.”

The energy and excitement of attending the Big Game between the Pac 12’s Bay Area rivals made a big impression, too.

“My first Big Game with my grandparents was when I was about 6 months old,” she said. “And, in addition to going to a couple of Big Game’s as a kid, I went with my dad as a freshman (at San Marcos).

“The energy on campus was amazing and I felt so comfortable there. That feeling has only been reinforced each time I have visited.”

A dynamic all-around player on the San Marcos indoor team, Wilson got serious about the beach game in her sophomore year.

Fuller saw videos of her at beach volleyball camps and in tournaments last summer.

She and her partner won a BVNE College Showcase Tournament last June that made her a bona fide recruiting prospect.

“It was a day I won’t forget,” Wilson recalled. “Our energy was super positive and we were loud and having so much fun in addition to doing well. Coach Fuller was there and was texting me after. I think that was a very important day in my recruiting process.”

When Wilson arrives at Stanford in the fall of 2021, she will join former San Marcos teammate Ellie Gamberdella, who is headed there this fall on a beach volleyball offer.

“She’s such an amazing volleyball player, a close friend and a great teammate,” Wilson said. “I am really looking forward to being at Stanford with her and, hopefully, getting the chance to play together.

“How unbelievable is it that two San Marcos volleyball players get to go to Stanford to play beach volleyball in back-to-back years?”

Taylor Wilson

Taylor Wilson’s grandparents took her to the Stanford-Cal football game at Stanford Stadium when she was 6 months old. (Wilson family photo)

Wilson and Gamberdella both train with the Malibu-based Valley Girls beach volleyball club. They recently returned to training.

“I really love playing, so I am hoping things will start back up again soon,” Wilson said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there haven’t been any beach tournaments during the spring and early summer. Wilson last played in the Arizona Deep Freeze Beach National Qualifier back in December and won the gold medal in the 18-under division with Florida State commit Makenna Wolfe of Arroyo Grande.

“It’s a bummer that most of this year’s season got canceled because I had some great partners to play with, and I thought we would do well heading into the summer’s big tournaments, including USA Junior Nationals with Makenna,” Wilson said.

Wilson has kept busy during the pandemic as a member of the Zoomers to Boomers team that shops and delivers groceries to seniors, immune-comprised residents, caregivers and others. The program was started by San Marcos classmate Daniel Goldberg.

“We are still expanding and doing our best to continue to help as many people as possible as the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 increases,” she said.

Wilson is a member of the San Marcos Entrepreneurship Academy and her favorite subject is math. That combination has her thinking about double majoring in economics and management science and engineering.

She’s thrilled beyond belief that she’s going to Stanford and will be playing beach volleyball for the Cardinal.

“My goal was always to go to the best academic school I could get into, and before I was really into beach volleyball I assumed that would mean a top East Coast school, playing indoor,” Wilson said. “But it was always my intention to apply to Stanford and, if I got in academically, I would have sadly given up volleyball because going to Stanford was my ultimate goal.

“Now I get to have it all, and this is really beyond what I thought was possible three years ago.”

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.