Elana Meyers Taylor begged her parents to sign her up for softball. They finally gave in when she was nine years old.
Her love for softball resulted in her being the first athlete recruited to play at George Washington University. She was a two-time Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team, two-time Atlantic 10 Student-Athlete of the Year, three-time Atlantic 10 All-Academic honoree, NFCA Mid-Atlantic All-Region First Team, and a CoSIDA Academic All-American.
A member of the first team at GW, Meyers Taylor is in the history books offensively for recording the first hit and first run scored. She was also a pitcher her freshman year and earned the first win.
When she graduated in 2007, she was the program’s all-time leader in nearly every offensive category. She is still the record holder for career triples (15) and single-season record holder in hits (65), batting average (.414), triples (7).
After graduation, Meyers Taylor played professionally in Michigan and Philadelphia but the dream didn’t last long. When the Olympics announced the departure of softball, Meyers Taylor turned to a new sport, bobsled. She went on to win a bronze medal in the 2010 Olympics and silver in both 2014 and 2018.
She was inducted into the GW Sports Hall of Fame and her number 24 was retired in 2014.
But through it all softball remains her first love and she spoke with BTP about her love for the game and the 2018 NCAA Division I Tournament.
BTP: What was your experience like playing college ball?
EMT: It ended up being quite a tumultuous time because I had four coaches in five years but it ended on a positive note. We qualified for the A-10 Tournament and it was quite the accomplishment knowing where we started.
BTP: Who was your favorite player growing up?
EMT: I was a huge UCLA fan growing up so Lisa Fernandez and Dot Richardson. My dad met Lisa one day and got an autograph for me and that was the coolest thing ever but I’ve never met either of them. Its weird because you run in the same circles in the Olympic world but I’ve hardly met any of the softball athletes.
BTP: What is it about Georgia that has drawn you in?
EMT: My impression of that program is that it’s one of the hardest-working programs in the country. I really like that they get a lot of homegrown talent. They take a lot of gritty, talented girls and refine them and make them into collegiate softball players. I think it shows in the way they play. They are scrappy and they have speed, which is kind of my wheelhouse. If Cortni Emanuel wants to try bobsled, she’s more than welcome to try it.
BTP: Do you watch softball players and think, “Hey, they could be a great addition to bobsled?”
EMT: Yeah! We get a lot of track and field athletes who don’t come a tradition team sport and we find it difficult to teach the nuances of the team aspect. I think softball players have that and they are used to grinding it out. We, sometimes, have four-hour training days and lifting after that. It’s hard work and a blue-collar sport that reminds me of softball. I’m going to keep recruiting them even though I haven’t been very successful. It might be tougher now with it being back in the Olympics but I’d rather have that problem of it being in than being out.
BTP: What are you most looking forward to this weekend for Super Regionals?
EMT: A couple things. First, I’m SEC all the way even though historically I’m tied to UCLA. It pains me to no end that it’s Georgia and Tennessee because I would love to see more SEC teams in the WCWS. That series is going to be interesting for me to watch because, of course, I’m a UGA fan but
Ashley Morgan from Tennessee went to high school right down the road from me and played for my high school coach. So, I want her to do really well.
The Oregon-Kentucky matchup is cool too. I always like to see Oregon play because of Chelsea Spencer (assistant coach). I played against and with her in pro ball and then there’s Kentucky’s Associate Head Coach Kristine Himes who was one of my coaches at GW so I’m always rooting for Kentucky because of her.
Then you have Florida. They are such an exciting team to watch.
BTP: If you had to pick two teams to meet in the National Championship, who would you choose?
EMT: Who do I want or who do I think it’s actually going to be? That’s the question.
I would like to see, for selfish reasons, Georgia and Florida with Georgia winning. But I think a three-peat of Oklahoma would be a cool thing to see for the history of sports and because it’s so hard. They have a solid roster and they’ve got a lot of tools that I really like to see so I think they will be in the finals for sure. As far as who I think will be against them… I think Oregon has done some great things so I wouldn’t be surprised with an Oklahoma-Oregon matchup.