Growing up, Zack Bazile (pictured at left, in center) had always been involved in sports: soccer, football, rugby, baseball, wrestling and swimming. While attending grade school in Teaneck, New Jersey, during the summer, Zack’s mom enrolled him in track camp, a sport that he found he enjoyed very much. However, Zack’s path to becoming a champion long jumper hit a hurdle once he tried out for a track club team and participated in his first meet with the club. “I was running the 200 meter and got smoked,” Zack recalls. That loss made Zack leave the track club and, temporarily, track and field.
Once Zack entered high school, his track and field journey was jump-started. Instead of attending the local high school, Zack enrolled in the Catholic all-boys St. Joseph Regional High School. He also experienced a growth spurt, adding a foot in height, and strength and speed gains. With the encouragement of Nick De Vito and Cooper Rego, St. Joseph’s track coaches, Zack decided to come out for track once again: “They played an important role in my career, and they were the ones who believed in me when I didn't think collegiate athletics was a possibility.” The long jump seemed like a good event, so Zack tried out his junior year – what he calls the beginning of his track career – and hasn’t stopped jumping since.
After his junior year in high school, which Zack said started out as just “average” as far as track was concerned, his performance improved, and Zack started getting recruitment letters and calls from local colleges on the East Coast. The Ohio State University reached out and offered him a track scholarship as did another school. For Zack, the choice was simple: “I knew that I wanted to continue athletics after high school, especially at a collegiate level. Out of the two scholarships I was offered, instead of going with the one that would give me more money, I went with the better opportunity. Ohio State is a door opener. The university has connections and networking, and I knew that they would make me the best student-athlete I could be.”
His first year at Ohio State, Zack was honored as a 2015 Academic All American and as the 2015 Big Ten Freshman of the Year (indoors) and Big Ten Champion in the indoor long jump. But balancing academics and athletics required some adjustments. During his first semester at Ohio State, due to his class load, Zack dropped a course and didn’t pass another one. “My first semester was pretty rough. I believe that as a first year student, your first semester is always the toughest one because new and greater responsibilities are being thrown at you so fast and all at once.”
Starting his second semester, Zack felt he had a better handle on what it would take to succeed at Ohio State, stating, “I knew I had to be more on top of my course work, putting in the hours when needed, just like athletics.” But Zack would be the first to acknowledge that his success came not only through his own hard work but also through the help of others, such as Ohio State’s Student-Athlete Support Services, which provides tutors for student-athletes. With the help of his math tutor Jennifer Ramsey, who helped Zack better grasp the necessary math concepts, he retook his math class and passed.
Zack also got assistance from the Todd Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male. One of his mother’s co-workers is related to Robert Bennett, PhD, the Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the Bell National Resource Center. Several months ago, Zack got in touch with Dr. Bennett, and just like he did for Michael Hartfield, a former Ohio State track and field athlete who also specializes in the long jump, Robert Bennett, Zack says, has been looking out for him ever since. “I have a vision of where I want to be after graduation and experiences I want to gain while a student at Ohio State. Dr. Bennett has advised me on which paths to take and the people I should reach out to to achieve my expectations.”
Currently a sophomore, Zack is pursuing a double major in International Business Administration and Real Estate and Urban Analysis. He sees himself as an entrepreneur but recognizes that he is going to need experience and connections for his future plans. “I would like to have the opportunity to potentially travel and work overseas. I know the world’s economy is increasingly global, and the demand continues to grow for individuals who understand the global context of business.”
With plans to graduate in 2018 or early 2019, afterwards, Zack would like to continue track and field on a professional level, perhaps on a world team and in the Olympic Games. After that, Zack states he would like to move somewhere near the coast, get into real estate and perhaps start a family business.
Throughout his academic and athletic career, Zack knows that there are a lot of people who have supported and mentored him: his mom, coaches, teammates, and tutors. He also owes a lot to Mathew and Kathleen Glowski. Members of Zack’s local parish, St. Anastasia, and living in the same town, Zack’s mother introduced him to Kathy. Having been a guidance counselor at St. Anthony’s in Jersey City, Kathy was able to help Zack navigate the college application process and tell him what types of classes and test scores he would need. She also motivated Zack to be a better student his senior year, encouraging him to take Advanced Placement and Honors courses.
All these mentors, along with Zack’s own dedication, have helped him to succeed and overcome any challenges he faced along the way.