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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Q & A w/ Team USA's Taylor Hoagland

The University of Texas has had more than their share of extremely talented players come through their softball program. Cat Osterman is by far the best known, having had incredible success on an international level, but a recent Longhorn grad is already making a name for herself in just her second season as a member of Team USA.

Taylor Hoagland recently ended her career in burnt orange after four absolutely outstanding seasons in Austin. She was a three-time All-Big 12 first team selection and led the Longhorns to the Women's College World Series in her senior year.

I had the unique opportunity to conduct a Q&A-style interview with Taylor before the World Cup of Softball, and I asked her about her earliest memories of softball, her Longhorn career, playing in the WCWS, Team USA, and more!

Taylor and her representatives, 1D0D Entertainment, are presently hosting an auction. Three softballs signed by all eighteen present members of Team USA are up for auctions, and all of the proceeds from the auction go to three different charities hand-picked by Taylor. You can find the auction and place a bid by following this link.


L-R: Taylor Thom (SS, TEX '14); Amber Freeman (C, ASU '15);
Hoagland; Kourtney Salvarola (SS, USF '14)

Justin’s World: How did you get your start playing softball?

Taylor Hoagland: I started playing softball at 4 years old when my grandfather bought me my first matching bat and ball softball tee. He would take me out in the backyard and teach me how to field ground balls every day!

JW: Who is your hero and how that that person’s influence affected your on-field performance?

Hoagland: My mom is my hero because she has shown me that anything is possible if you are willing to put the work in to achieve it. She has been a wonderful example of what a strong woman is and that I am fully capable of making my dreams come true.

JW: Why Texas? What appealed to you about the school and the Longhorns softball program?

Hoagland: I chose Texas because of it’s tradition and family atmosphere that the program provided. It’s an outstanding program with great values and I believe that it helped me grow into the player and person that I have become today.

JW: The Longhorns reached the Women’s College World Series in your senior season, the only time they advanced toe Oklahoma City during your career. What was that experience like for you, for your collegiate career to end at the WCWS?

Hoagland: Ending my college career at the World Series was absolutely a dream come true. It felt like everything we had worked for the last four years was finally coming together and I know especially for the senior class it was like turning the page for the Texas Softball program. It felt like all our hard work was finally paying off and the seniors couldn’t have asked for anything more than that feeling in that moment right there.

JW: Describe your career as a Longhorn in two words.

Hoagland: Wild Ride

JW: What did/does it mean to you to be a Longhorn?

Hoagland: Being a Longhorn is almost like buying a Rolls Royce. Very few people get to experience it, but if you do, you never take it for granted.

JW: Your passion and high energy on the field made you a popular player, but also one who drew controversy. How do you answer critics that say you’re a “dirty” player?

Hoagland: I think people mistake my passion and energy for the game as something other than what it is. The only incident I have been considered "dirty" was last year against Oregon in the Super Regionals, and looking back on that entire series I absolutely agree that BOTH teams could and should have handled things way differently, but we didn't. Nothing either team did I believe was intentionally malicious, rather it was just a bunch of girls in the heat of the moment fighting for the same dream. Unfortunately, many people were only focused on me, and not what happened from both sides. Regardless of what he said/she said, there are no hard feelings from me. I attended this years USA tryouts with both Jessica Moore and Alexa Peterson, where apologies were given, explanations were heard, and laughs were made. Now Jessica and I are teammates and get along great. I believe that if we have moved past it, everyone else should too. We understand that our drive and passion for the game just got the best of us, and we respect each other for that. Nothing more, nothing less.

JW: If you can, describe what it's like to put on the red, white, and blue, and represent the USA on the field.

Hoagland: It's an absolute dream come true. This is something that I have worked towards my entire life and never really thought it was tangible, and even now when I put on that uniform, it still feels surreal. But if this is a dream, I hope I never wake up.

JW: You wer eon the 2011 Team USA squad, but didn't make the team in 2012. Did your absence from the team last year help drive you in trying out for the team this year?

Hoagland: Absolutely. It surfaced more drive than I ever thought I could have and revived my passion and fire for the game.

JW: Was playing professional softball something you considered doing or wanted to do?

Hoagland: Honestly, I didn't think I was cut out for the job, but it was something that I wanted to give a shot.

JW: Is playing pro ball something that you might consider at some point in the future?

Hoagland: Definitely.

JW: Is coaching softball at some level part of your future plans or hopes?

Hoagland: Maybe in the future. I love playing and coaching the game, so maybe some day I will pursue the next level, but for now I'm just focused on playing and going back to school at some point!


You can find Taylor's official site by clicking here. Taylor is represented by One Dream Zero Distraction and you can find them at www.1d0dent.com

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