Junior Macie Vickers doesn’t have to worry about sending out college applications.
She is ready to start her collegiate career – after her senior year next year at Escalon High School – as a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Huskers softball team.
After a recruiting trip there, an offer was extended, and the three-sport EHS athlete couldn’t be happier.
“It was amazing,” Macie said of the spring recruiting tour that the UNL staff invited her and her family too, as they wanted to showcase the school, the softball program, and the community.
They didn’t have a direct flight, as they had to fly from Sacramento to Colorado and then on to Nebraska. That gave the 17-year-old junior some time to think and really get a grasp of what was ahead.
“I was just in the airport, just like shaking and all nervous but excited to meet all the coaches and then, when I met them, it was like, I knew this was where I wanted to play, I knew this was where I wanted to be. The coaches, they were like family already, it was like I had known them forever, it was amazing.”
The Division I Huskers play in the Big Ten Conference. Macie, primarily a catcher, has played softball since she was four years old and getting a scholarship to play at the collegiate level is a dream come true.
“Ever since I started playing travel ball, there’s always the, okay you’re going to play at the next level but how far do you want to take it?” she explained of advice and encouragement from coaches. “You could go to a junior college and play for two years and be done after that, so, if you want to put the extra work in now, when I was like 12, if you want to put the extra work in now, it’s going to pay off in the future. So, having my coaching staff for travel ball has set me up for success because all they want is to get me to the next level, get my education paid for and just make sure I’m happy at where I’m supposed to be.”
She said everything revolves around the college; the community of Lincoln embraces the students. She noted that her parents, out for dinner while there while Macie was on campus, visited with some other diners who found out that she was committing to play softball for UNL, and they promptly proceeded to pay for her parent’s dinner.
“Everyone was just welcoming, everyone is so friendly,” Macie said.
Her parents are Danny and Joyce Vickers and she has two older sisters, Kylee, an EHS alum now living in Hermosa Beach, and Emily, a senior this year at EHS who Macie said is her “biggest supporter.”
As a catcher first and foremost, Macie said she enjoys being involved with the entire game, calling the pitches and running the defense. She also has played corners, first and third, and hopes to get some experience at those positions as well.
Her longtime coach, Cat Carrisosa, has worked with her through a couple of different teams, most recently with Love The Game.
“She’s literally the reason I’m still playing today,” Macie said of her coach challenging her to reach her full potential.
Carrisosa has been coaching the sport for 23 years.
“Macie was 10 and I was coaching a 14 and Under Grapettes team,” Carrisosa said of first meeting the athlete, adding that she was planning on leaving coaching as her kids ‘graduated out’ of the age group.
“But when she was 11, going on 12, her dad came to me and said ‘We need a coach’ so, long story short, I kept coaching,” Carrisosa said.
Macie has been playing under Carrisosa’s guidance since she was in the 12s division, now for the Sacramento-based Love The Game.
“She’s a very good catcher, has a very dynamic personality and she plays very big on the field,” Carrisosa said. “I always like my catcher to call the game; we teach them to think like we do.”
A hand injury hobbled Macie during the 2022 season but Carrisosa said she continued training and was able to help them out with hitting during the biggest tournament of the year. She sparked interest from a few schools and, during a tournament in Southern California, both the head coach and assistant coach for Nebraska showed up to watch her play. From there, it was a series of Zoom calls with them this past fall and then the invitation for the recruiting trip.
“I always knew Macie would be big, I knew she could play in the Big Ten; she hits with such power, she’s a leader and her teammates just love her, as do the coaches,” Carrisosa added.
The coach also said having a supportive family, like Macie does, is key to helping her succeed.
Nebraska, she said, will get the full package with Macie.
“I call her Lumberjack; she hits like she’s swinging a big tree trunk, she swings hard,” the coach said, chuckling. “And her personality, you can tell she loves the game and she is internally driven to do well.”
With her senior year still ahead of her, Macie said there will be some tough times, as she just “wants to go” now but must complete high school first. She also said she has benefited from playing three sports, learning from each coach she has had at the high school level.
“Being committed and already knowing where I’m going, I just want to go,” she admitted. “I love Escalon and everything Escalon has to offer; I’m definitely going to come back after college but I just want to go.”
She will visit campus again in October, to take in a Nebraska football game.
Focusing on one sport fulltime – instead of the volleyball, basketball and softball that she does at Escalon – will be different, but Macie said she is looking forward to devoting fulltime to her softball career.
The balancing act, however, will be a little tougher.
“I know it’s going to be a challenge; it’s going to be hard to keep up with my social life, my school life,” she said. “Mentally, it’s going to be challenging but I am ready for it.”