Favorite athlete: Brian Dawkins
Favorite team: Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: Every year when we do big sister/little sister during field hockey, and we all have a big sleepover.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: When I saw someone slip at the beginning of the bowling lane and slid a couple of feet.
Music on mobile device: Alternative/Pop
Future plans: I want to go into the biomedical field and hopefully become a maxillofacial surgeon.
Words to live by: “Work hard in silence, let success make the noise.”
One goal before turning 30: Have my internship finished after I complete my 6/8 years of schooling.
One thing people don’t know about me: “I am a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
By Mary Jane Souder
Tori Tavernier, according to her coach, “flies under the radar.”
The soft-spoken Bensalem senior, a defender on the Owls’ field hockey squad, might not find her way into the spotlight, but if it’s a role model coach Maggie Jordan is looking for, Tavernier certainly fits the bill.
Tavernier, who takes all AP and honors classes, is ranked in the top of her class with a 4.3 weighted grade point average. She is an active member of the National Honor Society and the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science. Tavernier is also involved in a long list of clubs. She holds down a job at Chick-fil-A and still finds time to compete in three sports.
“Tori embodies what a student-athlete should be,” Jordan said. “While Tori is not the star of our team, she is extremely dedicated, not only on the field but in the classroom as well.
“Tori is a leader who is welcoming and supportive of all members of our team. The youngers girls on the team look up to her – I hear them asking her questions about school and classes, and it’s nice to see someone like Tori, who is kind to everyone.”
Tavernier aspires to pursue a career in the biomedical field, and although academics will always come first to the Bensalem senior, she wouldn’t have wanted to miss her experiences competing in high school sports.
“I don’t know how to describe it, but being part of a team is just really cool,” she said. “You don’t find that anywhere else. It’s a different aspect.
“You can make friends everywhere, but even in clubs, I don’t make as good friendships. In sports, you spend every day together – preseason, all the games. It’s just a really cool experience. That’s why I wanted to get involved, and I’m really glad I did.”
The Owls’ field hockey team has struggled in the competitive National Conference, picking up its first win – an 8-1 victory over archrival Truman – in its most recent game. According to Tavernier, the team makes a point keep things positive.
“I always say – you can’t have negative thoughts going into it because then it’s going to affect how your play,” she said. “You can’t think, ‘Oh, we’re going to lose anyway.’ That’s just a horrible mindset to have.
“People might think, ‘Oh, Bensalem…’ but you can’t look at it that way. I try to look at it as the opposite, and I think most of my teammates do as well. You have to be more positive, and that gets the team through it. We don’t give up. It’s hard because nobody likes to lose, but you just have to keep working. You never get anywhere thinking you’re not going to win, you never grow as a team or individually.”
Tavernier grew up playing soccer and also played some basketball. When she was six years old, she started Taekwondo, and by the time she was 10, she had earned a first degree black belt.
“I actually went to different competitions in Philly and everything,” said Tavernier, who gave up Taekwondo when her martial arts studio went out of business. “I was really into it. I wish I’d stayed with it, but I can still get back into it.”
Tavernier got her first taste of field hockey in seventh grade but didn’t play as a freshman, thanks to an ill-timed bout of strep throat.
“I didn’t want to go into the season without a preseason,” she said. “Preseason – it’s kind of like a prereq. Even though they were going to let me come out, I didn’t think it was right, but I wanted to go back. I missed my teammates, I missed my team, and I really like playing field hockey.”
Jordan describes Tavernier as one of the team’s “go-to defenders.”
“She’s really grown,” the Owls’ coach said. “She’s really worked hard, she’s dedicated, and once she’s dedicated to something, she’s on it. Even though she does so much – she’s not spread too thin that she can’t be there when you need her to. She really is a good kid.”
Tavernier is also a member of the bowling team and along with several teammates advanced to SOLs last year.
“My whole family are really good bowlers, so I just kind of picked it up from them,” she said. “I just took naturally to it – my coach wanted me to do it for school, so I started doing that.
“I used to play in a league with my aunt, but you can’t play in a league and also be in it for school. Now I just do it for school. I do it for fun, but I do take it seriously. I’m there, so I want to make the most of my time.”
Not that she needed another activity, but Tavernier joined the lacrosse team last spring since many of her friends on the field hockey team also played lacrosse.
In addition, Tavernier is a member of the school’s Community Service Club, the Lemon Club – an off-branch of Alex’s Lemonade that raises money for childhood cancer, and Building Bridges, which includes preparing middle school students for high school life.
She hopes to attend the University of Pittsburgh where she will pursue her interest in the biomedical field with her sights set on becoming a maxillofacial surgeon.
“Honestly, I wish it was a cooler story, but I’ve always been infatuated with teeth,” she said with a laugh when asked about her career goal. “I’ve always been interested in that. It might veer off, but I do like biomedical as a whole.”
For now, Tavernier will continue to juggle a packed schedule.
“It’s challenging,” she said. “All my free time is spent on schoolwork. You don’t really have time to take for yourself.
“I often get to bed really late, but in the end I know it will pay off.”