Why Avery Goelz Chose Florida
Avery Goelz was not originally a fan of the Florida Gators. The 2020 Florida Gatorade Player of the Year and 2016 PGF national champion was a fan of another Florida school.
“Growing up, I was a big Florida State fan. My dad, at the time, really liked them,” Goelz said in a phone interview with Softball America. “But as time went on, I just loved watching the Gators play and I thought to myself, ‘I just really want to go there.’”
That wish became a reality after an unofficial visit her freshman year of high school when she committed to Florida. Goelz noticed right away what kind of program the Gators have.
“Watching them practice, you can tell they’re one of the best teams in the country,” she said. “There is some joking around, but for the most part, everyone’s just working to get better. Everyone there, you can tell that they’re trying to make it to the College World Series.”
Goelz will play first base for head coach Tim Walton, who has led the Gators to 10 WCWS appearances, including five finals appearances and two national titles in his 15 years at the helm of the program.
“He’s very, very smart,” Goelz said. “He knows the game really well. He’s helped me a lot with some inside tips and even the small things. He knows how to do it right.”
In the short time Goelz has been in Gainesville, she has found herself welcomed by her teammates and helped by team leaders such as senior second baseman Hannah Adams, senior first baseman Kendyl Lindaman, and junior third baseman Charla Echols. She has even received help from a famous Florida alumna.
“Amanda Lorenz, she’s not a player anymore but she still has that impact of being super helpful to me,” Goelz added. “Her senior year, she was playing first base. She’s been over there giving me some tips and telling me, ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to be fine.’”
The help she has received from Lorenz fits perfectly with the team environment she has noticed at Florida.
“A lot of people have left a legacy here, even though some of them have been gone for 10 years, five years, they still get talked about here, they still are a part of this program in some way,” Goelz said. “It’s a very family-based program and I really like that.”
Coming to Florida, Goelz was one of the most highly recruited players in the nation, landing in the sixth spot in Softball America’s 2020 Top 100 Recruiting Rankings. For travel ball, she played with the Tampa Mustangs and had a coach that wanted to make sure all his players were ready for college ball.
“We were always facing the best competition,” said Goelz. “My coach was trying to prepare us the best for our college experiences. He wanted us to be good enough so we could start as a freshman.”
Overall, the biggest reason why Goelz came to play for Florida goes hand-in-hand with what her coaches and teammates want for her as well.
“I just really want to be part of something big,” Goelz said. “That’s kind of why I decided to come here. Everyone is so talented and everyone that is here would love to win a World Series. I want to be a part of that. I want to help win a College World Series the best way I can.”