April 27, 2012
Originally published in the spring 2012 issue of the Cal Sports Quarterly
By Anna Oleson-Wheeler
To say that sophomore catcher Taylor Vincent was destined to become a Golden Bear is slightly hyperbolic. But only slightly.
During her freshman year at Pleasanton's Foothill High School, former Cal greats Vicky Galindo and Lindsay James coached Vincent in fall ball. Soon after, teacher Chris Gibbons, a centerfielder for the Bears baseball team from 1982-83, ignited in Vincent a passion for physics.
A talented athlete and an even more gifted student with such connections seemed to indicate that Vincent was fated to become a Golden Bear. Well, almost.
"I had actually grown up as a UCLA fan, but I soon found myself liking Cal a lot more," Vincent said of her ursine change of heart. "During the spring of my freshman year, I was at Levine-Fricke Field watching Cal play UCLA, and I wasn't rooting for Cal."
While Vincent has now found a home in softball's Strawberry Canyon, she also feels equally at ease in the classroom. Not only did she declare physics as her major early in her collegiate career, but she also contributes to the nation's No. 1 softball program this year. During this past offseason, Vincent even added another brick to her load, deciding to double major in math and physics.
"I had decided to a math minor for fun," Vincent said of her early academic plan. "My roommate pointed out that it was a difference of an extra class, so I called my dad to tell him I was going to double in math and physics."
This coming summer, Vincent will intern with GigOptix in fiber optics and high-intensity lasers. Following graduation, she hopes to get her Ph.D. in biophysics from Cal and to work on advancements in human prosthetics.
"I knew I wanted to help people, but I can't stand needles, so I knew being a doctor was out of the question," Vincent said. "It's a good way to apply the physics that I like and the helping that I also enjoy."
Academic acumen very clearly runs in the Vincent family. Her mother, Teri, is a high-risk obstetrics registered nurse; her father, Richard, owns an MS in electrical engineering and an MBA; and sister, Jennifer, is set to attend Hastings Law School in the fall after graduating from the UCLA physiology honors program.
Vincent's exceptional work ethic stands out even among her workhorse teammates, whether it's asking for extra batting practice or the vigilance with which she guards home plate.
Vincent's path to softball began as a youngster innocently enough when a neighbor came home with a visor.
"I wanted to know how to get one," Vincent said. "She said it was from softball so I begged my parents to sign me up."
Once placed on a team, Vincent selected catching as her specialty.
"I like that catchers get to be in every play," Vincent said. "I also like hitting people without getting into trouble. I get to see the entire field. As catcher, I'm in charge of what happens with the ball and telling people where to go with it."
With Vincent calling the shots behind the plate, the Bears could not be in better hands.