It didn’t matter whether it was brown, white, orange or fluorescent green. Olivia Porter would kick it, shoot it, throw it and hit it.
For her, life has been a ball.
Porter was worth a “fourtune” at Southmoreland High School. She was the ultimate multi-sport athlete, playing four sports her senior year – soccer, basketball, softball and even a kicker on the football team.
But it wasn’t just playing multiple sports that made Porter unusual. She was a standout in three of them, being a varsity starter in soccer, basketball and softball since her freshman year. And although she was never confused with the best kickers in WPIAL football, she did something notable, kicking a 35-yard field goal in her only attempt of the season. She also was 7 of 7 on extra points. Porter kicked for the football team only as a senior.
For her efforts, Porter is the MSA Sports Female Athlete of the Year. The MSA Sports staff selects the athlete of the year from all WPIAL schools.
Porter has been doing things with sports balls for years. Her older brother and sister are twins, Jacob and Hannah.
“When I was little, I was always around my brother,” said Porter. “He was really in sports. I started kicking around with him and I said, “Hey, I want to do this.” So my parents got me into a soccer league and then everything happened in every other sport from there.”
This past school year, Porter had big impacts in a number of sports.
As a striker in soccer, she scored a little more than 20 goals and was an all-WPIAL selection.
In basketball, the 5-foot-9 guard Porter averaged 20.8 points a game and made all-section.
A shortstop in softball, Porter hit .463 with 10 doubles, three triples, 19 RBIs and 27 runs scored for a team that made it to the WPIAL semifinals.
“I’ve had to work at things, but a lot of it kind of comes naturally,” said Porter.
With all the sports, Porter should have plenty of great memories. But she said a few moments stand out in her mind as most memorable.
“I’d have to say probably kicking the field goal in football might be the most memorable,” said Porter. “No, wait. Here we go. I’ll say beating Belle Vernon in basketball because they killed us the first time we played them. We beat them the second time.”
Porter wasn’t sure what sport she wanted to play in college until a few months ago. A few small colleges offered her scholarships for basketball. Pitt-Johnstown offered a partial scholarship last spring, and Porter accepted it this spring from Pitt-Johnstown coach Niki Cognigni.
“At first my favorite sport was basketball,” said Porter. “But in my senior season, a lot of stuff happened that kind of pushed me away from basketball. Then coach Niki approached me again about playing softball at UPJ. I loved her as a coach and that pushed me towards softball.
“I had some basketball offers, but all of the colleges that offered were seven hours away or more. I wanted to stay closer to home.”
And for Porter, home is where a ball is.