« Softball 2011

Danielle Zymkowitz

University of Illinois
Second Base


Danielle Zymkowitz’s dedication on the field is mirrored in her performance as a student at the University of Illinois. The Big Ten Conference has recognized Zymkowitz with Academic All-Big Ten status following her sophomore and junior seasons (freshman are never eligible), while ESPN The Magazine and the College Sports Information Directors of America named her to the Academic All-District list following the 2009 season. The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) also recognized her for her hard work and dedication to academia individually by awarding Zymkowitz with the DIA Scholar Athlete of the Week on March 23, 2009, following the athletic performances that earned her USA Softball Player of the Week.


Having earned a starting job in the infield prior to her first season with Illinois, Zymkowitz has maintained a high level of leadership on the field, in the clubhouse and in the classroom throughout the previous three seasons. Zymkowitz has served as a vocal leader while setting the standard of excellence for Illini softball through her actions and words. During both her sophomore and junior seasons, Zymkowitz was awarded the Illini Igniter Award in recognition of her ability to get her teammates into game mode and keep the “fire” throughout the contest. Zymkowitz was also awarded the Illini Power Award following her most recent campaign – a recognition given to the one athlete on the team who strives to work the hardest in practice and in the weight room to set the standard for her teammates.


Zymkowitz has been as active within the community as she has on the base paths, most recently participating in the Illini Jock Jams fundraiser to assist local (Salt and Light), national (Boys and Girls Club) and international (Student-Athletes Leading Social Change) charities. Zymkowitz has assisted Hometown Heroes, a community outreach program within Champaign, Ill., on numerous occasions, in addition to volunteering at the local Boys and Girls Club. Zymkowitz also frequents the Cantebury Ridge assisted living community in Urbana, Ill., a team tradition she thoroughly enjoys participating in, and volunteers with a local travel softball teams. While at school, Zymkowitz lends her softball experience to the Champaign Blue Ice travel squad and when she is home in California, she helps with the Valley Breeze, located in the San Fernando Valley.


In only three seasons, Zymkowitz has become one of, if not, the most decorated players to ever wear the Orange and Blue. An All-American during her sophomore season, when she hit .401, Zymkowitz eclipsed her phenomenal 2009 season with her 2010 junior year, hitting .409 with more runs, hits, RBIs and stolen bases. Throughout her career, Zymkowitz is a two-time first team All-Big Ten (2009-10) and first team NFCA Midwest All-Region (2009-10) selection. Simultaneously, Zymkowitz earned multiple Big Ten “Player of the Week” awards as well as recognition as the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week after hitting .900 and slugging 1.500 during competition the prior week. With one more season still to play, Zymkowitz owns the highest career batting average (.372) and stolen base percentage (.875) to go with second for career total stolen bases (70) and third for career on-base percentage (.433) and most triples (7). In total, Zymkowitz’s name is featured on 10 different program top-10 career statistics lists while her 2010 season production ranks in the top-10 on seven seasonal records lists. Zymkowitz is arguably the most complete softball athlete to ever wear the Fighting Illini uniform as she is the only player with 250 total bases, 200 hits and 150 runs scored, while, from a fielding perspective, she is one of only eight players to ever have a career fielding percentage of at least .980 – having only committed 13 errors in 636 total chances, the 10th-most opportunities ever. Zymkowitz is also one of only two players to sport a career batting average of at least .350, one of two who have stolen at least 70 bases and one of three to earn an on-base percentage of at least .430.