Angel Hayden was a four time state champion for the Canyon Lady Eagles and was named the tournament MVP in both her Junior and Senior seasons.
Travis Schulte the Canyon Boys Basketball coach summed up her talent like this. “The bigger the moment the bigger Angel is, and that is a pretty cool thing to watch a kid with that kind of mentality.”
That talent landed her at the Division one level playing basketball for the Texas Tech Lady Raiders. Angel has seen her playing time increase throughout the season. And she thinks a lot of that has to do with the work she has put in.
“More and more as time when by I got better and was working harder and saw my minutes increasing and it has been nice seeing everything working out and just start trusting everything.” Hayden said.
While at Canyon High School one of her biggest fans and friends was Tatum Schulte who was just seven years old. When Angel met her as a sophomore in high school. Tatum is the daughter of Canyon Boys basketball coach Travis Schulte and he said there was a unique bond between Angel and both of his daughters.
“As soon as she showed an interest in both of them they just began to love her. So it was a pretty cool thing to watch the relationships grow.”
That same year that Angel and Tatum met, Tatum was diagnosed with a type of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma, and yet despite going through that, Tatum kept such a positive and living spirit which inspired Angel.
“She impacted me because she was just so strong through everything and she was always pushing me,” Hayden said. “Everyone knows that was just crazy for me because she was just so sick yet she was still just pushing for me to be the best.”
Tatum passed away in October of 2017, just weeks before Angel’s first collegiate game. But with every squeak of the floor and every dribble of the basketball, Hayden still feels her presence with her.
“I’m always writing TLT on my wrist right before practice or right before games, and it always reminds me that she is with me,” Hayden said. “Whether she was here or her spirit is here, she is always with me. I believe that I started getting better when she passed, because I always felt her there with me and she always told me that I got it, and just to believe that I got this. So it has been a great thing because she impacted me on and off the court and it has been great feeling her with me every game.”
The Texas Tech Red Lady Raiders have three home games left on the season. The first of which is against West Virginia.