Basalt High’s Zoe Vozick to play Division I softball at George Mason University
For a while, it didn’t look like softball was going to be part of Zoe Vozick’s future plans. The recent Basalt High School graduate was committed to the University of Washington as a student and was coming to terms of a life without her favorite sport when a different Washington intervened.
“I was super late in the recruiting process and I felt like nothing was going my way,” Vozick said. “As soon as the possibility of playing softball was re-introduced, I knew it felt true to my heart and that I had to do it.”
In a last-second move, Vozick reached out to the George Mason University program, which was in need of a class of 2020 catcher. From there, the stars aligned rather quickly and now Vozick is headed to Fairfax, Virginia — just outside of Washington, D.C. — to play NCAA Division I softball for the Patriots.
“It felt as if all the dots were connecting, getting to play competitive softball, study what I want, in a location that I want,” said Vozick, who had also looked into various DII and DIII programs. “None of them felt right, which is what made George Mason so exciting. As soon as the offer was there, I knew that it was the one.”
Vozick was a star for BHS softball. A standout catcher who also dabbled in the infield, she was one of the best bats in the state. She hit .667 this past fall as a senior, when the Longhorns had one of their best seasons in program history, going 23-2 overall and advancing to the Class 3A state quarterfinals.
Her favorite memory as a Longhorn? It was Vozick’s freshman year, when she made a diving catch to help keep her team in front against Delta in a battle for the league lead. She said that was “when I first fell in love with softball,” and “not because I made a good play, but because I got to experience the familial feeling softball encompasses.”
That family aspect, especially on road trips, is what Vozick will remember the most, and it’s that same feeling she looks forward to the most when she heads to George Mason.
“Every relationship I’ve had with them has been super positive,” Vozick said. “It’s been really exciting to meet a ton of new girls. That’s always been my favorite part of the sport is just making those long-lasting connections.”
The Patriots play out of the Atlantic 10 Conference and were 7-12 overall this past spring before the novel coronavirus pandemic brought an early end to the softball season. They finished 22-25 overall in 2019.
George Mason will have a new head coach in Justin Walker this coming season. One of the team’s former assistants, he was promoted after Joe Verbanic stepped down in April after 16 seasons leading the program. Walker is the coach who offered Vozick a spot on the team.
“I reached out to them and almost immediately the coach responded to me and said he was interested,” said Vozick, who officially committed May 18.
Not only did Vozick land a spot on the GMU softball team, but she was admitted into the school’s Honors College. The proximity to the nation’s capital was another major draw, considering she plans to study social justice and human rights.
Having grown up as the only girl on various baseball teams and having to battle through those gender stigmas, Vozick has a desire to use sport as a way to bridge that divide between the sexes. Her senior capstone project at BHS included making a documentary on female empowerment.
“It was super motivating and so powerful that I decided I wanted to continue doing that,” Vozick said. “I just want to help women in developing countries play sports in more male dominated societies.”
Vozick plans to spend the summer playing softball for the Colorado Angels, a competitive travel team based out of Denver. With tournaments all over the country — pandemic allowing — this will allow her to face other players destined for the college ranks.
She’ll head to George Mason in mid-August, where she’ll get to see the campus for the first time. There typically is a short fall season for baseball and softball at that level, while the main season takes place in the spring.
“I’m really excited,” Vozick said. “I’m excited to play and compete at that level and meet those new girls and coaches and just gain all those new experiences.”