Faces in KS: Taylor Rolfs

Taylor Rolfs of Central Plains is one of the top multi-sport athletes in Kansas. (Riggs Photography)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Sep 8, 2015

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Claflin, population 641, is a known sports town in Kansas. Although no longer referred to as Claflin High School as it consolidated with Bushton-Quviria Heights to form what we now know as Central Plains High School, it hasn't changed much of the continued success in athletics . Whether it is all of the football teams from the Claflin days, to the recent success of Central Plains football, or the legendary Jackie Stiles, Claflin/Central Plains has been put on the map in the state of Kansas for sports.

Recently, the success of the Central Plains girls high school basketball team has really been the story in the smaller classes of girls high school basketball in Kansas. The Oilers have won the last two girls state basketball titles in 2A. A big reason for that is senior Taylor Rolfs, who is one of the top multi-sport athletes in the state of Kansas.

Rolfs, a 5-foot-11 senior, is one of the best returning volleyball players in Kansas, earning all-state honors a year ago. Not only that as an all-state basketball player, she teams with all-state guard Reagan Phelan to form one of the best basketball duos in the entire state of Kansas. And no we aren't talking 2A, Central Plains is on a level of just about anybody in the Sunflower State. Rolfs is also a state qualifier in track and field. For Rolfs, who sometimes thinks specializing in just one sport could help her, there is no off-season.

"I don't have an offseason, usually all I have is the week of changing sports. It definitely helps in not being bored," Rolfs said.

Rolfs averaged 17.2 points per game last season, while Phelan averaged 14.2 in leading the Oilers to the 2015 state championship. Both earned all-classification honors from Sports in Kansas in 2015.

"Playing with Reagan is amazing and I don’t know what I would do without her. She is a great teammate and never lets you down. She always plays hard and never complains. We have played basketball together ever since we were little back in third grade." Rolfs said.

The Oilers have won the last two state titles in 2A under head coach Pat Stiles. Yes, the same Stiles that you are thinking of in Claflin native Jackie Stiles as it's her father.

"Playing for coach Stiles has been a blessing. I am very sad that this season will be my last as I'm a senior." Rolfs said.

So one may think it would be pretty cool to play in the same gym that Kansas legend Jackie Stiles once did. Stiles scored a state record 3,603 points, including 1,252 in one season (46.4 ppg average) at Claflin before becoming the all-time leading scoring in NCAA history at Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State). However, Rolfs wasn't even born yet when Stiles completed her senior year of high school at Claflin in 1997, but definitely knows all about her.

"I always heard about Jackie when I was younger and knew she was really good just from articles I read and stories I heard. To play for Pat kind of makes it feel like you have a connection with her. It is always fun going to other places and when they ask where you are from and say Claflin and then refer to her and everybody knows where you are talking about." Rolfs said.

It's all about sports in the Rolfs family. Her dad, Trevor, is in his first year as the head women's basketball coach at Barton County Community College in nearby Great Bend. He has also served as the athletic director since 2011. He was previously the head coach at Pratt Community College where he led them to a 114-85 record in seven seasons, that included a NJCAA National Tournament berth. Her mom, Kim, is the head volleyball coach for Central Plains and also the assistant on the girls basketball team.

"Basketball in my family is like a lifestyle. It will make for a crazy school year with everybody going in their different directions." Rolfs said.

Although she was recruited in multiple sports and had multiple offers, Rolfs will stay close to home and play for Division II basketball power, Fort Hays State University, next season.

For now its volleyball season for the all-stater and her goal is to get back to the state tournament in 2015.

"We want to get back to state. When the first rankings came out we were number two. We have a lot of goals in volleyball and basketball this year. We want to win state in both." Rolfs said.

We caught up with Taylor below...

This feature is presented by First Kansas Bank, a proud supporter of Central Plains High School and Central Prairie Co-op, proud to support Central Plains Oilers athletes.

How did you get involved with athletics?

I got involved in athletics since before I can remember. My parents have been coaching sports ever since I was born so I really didn’t have an option whether or not I would be involved in athletics. The thing I remember most was going to school and then walking to the high school and watching my mom coach practice every day. That really got me started on everything because my mom would let me join in on some drills with the high school players and I thought that was the coolest thing ever!

 Do you have an off-season?

The only “off-season” I have is the week in between changing to a different sport and a few weeks in the summer. I enjoy it though because there is no boring time in my life.

 How does playing multi-sports make you a better athlete?

Sometimes I wish I could only play one sport but then after awhile I realize that being in three sports is the best thing for making me a better athlete. I know that I would regret it if I didn’t do multiple sports in high school.

 What is it like to play for Coach Pat Stiles?

Playing for Coach Stiles has been a blessing. I am very sad that this is my last year playing for him but I know that if I ever need help with anything he will always be there to support me. He has taught me so much in all five years of basketball. Since I have gone to school at Central Plains he has been my only basketball coach. He is understanding and very supportive for everyone on the team. I am very thankful to be able to play for Coach Stiles.

 What is it like to play in a place where Jackie Stiles played?

I always heard about Jackie when I was younger and knew she was really good just from articles I read and stories I heard. To play for Pat kind of makes it feel like you have a connection with her. It is always fun going to other places and when they ask where you are from and say Claflin and then refer to her and everybody knows where you are talking about.

 Goals for volleyball this year?

As for volleyball we plan to work hard and make it to state again this year. When the rankings came out for the first time we were really excited to see we were ranked second! But our main goal is to win the state championship for volleyball. It will be tough but I know we can do it.

 What is it like to play with one of the best in Kansas in Reagan Phelan?

Playing with Reagan is amazing and I don’t know what I would do without her. She is a great teammate and never lets you down. She always plays hard and never complains. We have played basketball together ever since we were little back in 3rd grade. It will definitely be different not playing together in college and I will miss her so much.

What will you have to do to get a three peat?

To achieve a three-peat in basketball we really have to stay focused. We need to work hard every day in practice, don’t take any games for granted, push each other to be the best we can be, and know that we have a huge target on our backs and that we can never stop fighting to be on top.

 Plans at the next level?

I plan to attend Fort Hays State University and play basketball next year.

 How important is basketball to the Rolfs family with your dad being the head coach at Barton County?

Basketball in my family is like a lifestyle. It is something that has been around since I was born. My dad was a coach before at Pratt Community College so it is nothing new that he is a coach now. I think it will make for a crazy school year with everyone in my family going different directions sometimes.

 Favorite subject in school?

My favorite subject in high school thus far is crafts. It is a lot of fun and very relaxing after a stressful day of my core classes.

 What is it like to grow up around Claflin?

I didn’t actually grow up in Claflin… I moved here my 8th grade year but I have enjoyed spending the previous years here. I love this place and wouldn’t want to go to high school anywhere else besides here. It is small and everybody knows each other here, I love it.

 How much pressure is on your team to win state?

There is always pressure when it comes to state championships. But if our team works hard, works together, and never gives up I know we are capable of winning three state championships in a row.

One thing the average person doesn’t know about you?
I love to eat. I may not look the part but all my friends say I eat all the time, which I do. :)