Sports

‘Oh my gosh, you’re on SportsCenter’: Life after a viral fence-clearing catch

Olivia Taylor made one of the best plays anybody has seen on any level of sport in recent memory, and you know it because you couldn’t miss it this past weekend.

Taylor, a senior center fielder for Bear River High School in Utah, made a full-extension leap over the fence to haul in a home-run-saving grab in the second game of a three-game series for the 4A state championship against Tooele to help preserve her team’s 4-1 lead in the fourth inning.

The video was posted after Bear River won that game, and it won the third of the series later that Saturday to secure the championship.

Taylor went viral.

“My coach actually called me and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re on SportsCenter!'” Taylor said. “And so my friends had told me and I was just like, ‘There’s no way,’ until I actually saw it.”

Taylor was in the SportsCenter Top 10, landing at No. 2. Simone Biles, who made history with a Yurchenko double pike vault in return to competition at the U.S. Classic, understandably finished No. 1.

“I’ll take a pass to Simone Biles,” Taylor said.

The catch had also been posted all over social media, including on SportsCenter’s Instagram.

“SportsCenter’s insane, there’s like 23 million followers on that, so I was just mind blown once it actually had set in what had just happened and that it was going viral.”

ESPN spoke with Taylor on Monday afternoon. Her phone was still blowing up.

“I probably had hundreds of text messages, and just DMs on Instagram was probably the biggest thing. My Instagram’s blown up with follow requests because I have a private account, and then just people DMing me about it.”

“It’s just been a whirlwind. I keep expecting it to die down, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and just getting shared more on social media, and just keeps blowing up.”

With the social media attention came fame at school. Taylor was easily the most important person at Bear River High School when the first bell rang on Monday morning.

“It was pretty crazy,” she said. “It just felt everybody’s talking about it and hyping me up, and a lot of the boys are all just crazy about it acting like I’m all famous and that.”

And while the attention she has deservedly gotten has been neat for her, she’s still taken aback by how big the moment was that she made the sensational catch in.

“I think it was more so exciting because it was such a big game,” she said. “Had it been any other game it was still a cool catch, but didn’t matter as much. But since it was the state championship, and like it helped with the score of the game and the outcome and the momentum shift. I think that was the biggest thing is it really shifted momentum for the game. And the next game going into it when we won.”

It was Bear River’s third 4A title in the past five years (the 2020 season was canceled).

Taylor’s career won’t be over once she graduates in June — she will be playing at the College of Southern Idaho.

So if you see another viral catch out of Twin Falls, Idaho, and the Golden Eagles over the next couple of years, it’s probably Taylor.

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