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Taylor McQuillin: more than meets the eye

Posted at 1:46 PM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-27 15:46:16-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Taylor McQuillin was never supposed to be a Wildcat.  In fact, many would be surprised she is able to play softball at all.
The Orange County native grew up a fan of the USC Trojans and committed to play softball at Oklahoma State her freshman year of high school.
After her father suffered with health issues shortly after her commitment, Taylor decided to reopen her recruitment.
"Family is the most important thing, right?"  the pitcher says.
After speaking with the top programs around the nation and visiting U of A for the first time, Taylor chose Arizona as her college destination. 
"It's one of the best decisions I've made."
As a senior at Mission Viejo High School in Southern California, Taylor recorded a 30-1 record with a .31 ERA.  She was also named the National Gatorade Softball Player of the Year following her junior season.
While her college decision became clear after a single visit, there is something about Taylor that may never be clear: her vision.
"I've never really lived knowing what it's like to see in both eyes," Taylor says.
The left handed pitcher is blind in her left eye and has partial hearing loss in her left ear.  It's a result of a condition Taylor was born with called Duane Syndrome.
"I had five surgeries until age four or five, none of them really worked. Some of them made it worse, that's when I pretty much lost sight in my left eye."
While the disability would handicap many children from pursing athletics, it would never stop Taylor.
"I've seen it more of I guess a positive thing in my life, like hey, this is what makes me different but I can be just like everyone else.  I can go out and play a sport, I can pitch if I want to, I can do anything that I put my mind to."
The athletic trainers at the U of A have advised Taylor to wear protective glasses to shield her eyes, which she has never worn while playing.
"I'm just glad that people are trying to protect me," Taylor smiles.