SAAC Spotlight: Central Washington's Emily Houck
Houck is a first year on the track and field team and is the secretary for the GNAC SAAC Board for 2022-23.
Houck is a first year on the track and field team and is the secretary for the GNAC SAAC Board for 2022-23.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, uses this space to profile conference student-athletes who are members of their respective institutions’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition to providing feedback on the student-athlete experience, conference and institutional SAAC members also offer input on the rules, regulations, and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives on NCAA member institution campuses.

Name: Emily Houck
Sport: Track and Field
Institution: Central Washington
Year: Freshman
Major: Entrepreneurship
Hometown: Boise, Idaho

Why did you choose to attend CWU?: I chose to attend CWU because of the collective opportunities I have access to here. Central first caught my attention when the assistant track coach, Brittany Aanstad, reached out to my club coach about my 400-meter time. After a couple of phone calls with her, I started to gain interest, or at least curiosity, about what Central was and where on Earth Ellensburg was. On my official visit, with no expectations, I was surprised by how accepted I felt here. Not only did it seem like an environment that I could enjoy, I knew that I could thrive and grow in all aspects of my life at CWU. I got to meet my business professor, Bill Provaznik, who was enthusiastic about my current business pursuits, and before I even committed to the college, was helping me brainstorm how I could grow my business.

What is your favorite class you have taken in college so far and why?: My favorite class has been Jazz History because we get to listen to music all throughout the class!

Who is your favorite professor to date and why?: My favorite professor is Bill Provaznik. Although I've only been on campus for a little while, he has functioned as my mentor and my advocate. I have been in contact with him since April 2022 and has been a large influence on why I felt comfortable coming to school here. He is helping me set up an internship for a company and I was able to present my work to his Management 200 class with over 70 of my peers in the audience. He is always rooting for me and will be a mentor I will cherish for years.

How many years were you involved in SAAC?: This is my first year.

What made you want to be involved in SAAC?: I chose to get involved in SAAC for a simple reason: I like any opportunity to lead and serve at the same time. SAAC gives me the chance to do both.

What is your most memorable SAAC activity to date so far?: Riding electric scooters around downtown Seattle with the GNAC group after we visited the Space Needle during the 2022 SAAC retreat.
How do you feel participating in SAAC will help you in life after you graduate?: SAAC is another opportunity to network with other athletes, leaders and adults across multiple professions that I otherwise may have never met. I am excited to be able to meet so many new people over the next four years and hopefully be able to use these connections in my future business endeavors.
What is the most important thing you've learned from balancing the demands of athletics and academics?: Personal time is important, even if it means sitting in my car listening to jazz while eating some ice cream that I just bought. I value my mental health and I listen to my body. If it's telling me I need to just sit and enjoy a moment, I am going to prioritize that. I can't be my best me when my head's needs and my body's needs are fighting for my attention.
What does it mean to you to be a Division II student-athlete?: Mental toughness and grit. To be a student-athlete means dedication in everything you do. You have to be dedicated to your sleep, nutrition, recovery, training, schedule, classwork and studying. Besides maintaining your own life, you are responsible for a team and making sure that you are lifting them up with you in everything you do. Although track and field can be seen as an individual sport, we do everything as a unit, as a family. One person's actions reflect on the entire body of the team as well as the university we represent. Despite however much publicity and public eye we seem to attract, we are always in the spotlight, under close watch. As a student-athlete, you have no choice but to perform to the best of your ability under all the pressure that is on you.
Who are your current mentors?: My mother and father, Amy and Chad Houck, Bill Provaznik, and my sales advisor, Paul Millard.
What is the best advice you would give to an incoming freshman?: I believe this is from one of my club team's assistant coaches but it has been a piece of wisdom that has stuck with me for years: "Every day that you just show up is like depositing a dollar into your savings account. Now do that for a month straight. Suddenly you have 31 dollars with some interest built up because you have kept it consistent. Keep doing that and before you know it, every small-dollar that you put into the bank has become an investment in yourself. Every day that you push harder is depositing just that little bit more NOW so that you can withdraw your investment when it comes time to perform. Remember you can't pull anything out of the bank if you never invested time to put anything in."
What is your favorite sports-related moment?: My first ever indoor track meet was at The Podium in Spokane, Washington. I had never been in a venue that was dedicated to track and track only, and the feeling that it gave me was both pure excitement and absolute anxiety. Needless to say, I calmed down my nerves once I realized that it was the same 400 meters that I have run tons of times. This was the first time I ran on a banked track, (interesting feeling coming out of the blocks) but I would like to think that I took it like a champ. With no expectations of placing in my open event, I ended up getting seventh in my division for the 400-meter open. When I saw my name on the leaderboard, I started crying happy tears and kept jumping up and down in front of my coach screaming, "I made it!" Moments like that are why I endure the not-so-fun months and months of training.
If you could spend the day with one person (past or present), who would it be (and why)?: If I could spend the day with one person it would be George Washington. I would ask him, "What do you pray that your country looks like in one hundred years?" I am curious to see if the values we have interpreted through documents like the Bill of Rights and the Constitution stand true to what the founding fathers had really intended our country to be built on.
Favorite Sports Team: I honestly don't watch pro sports, but I would have to say the San Diego Wave FC. I am always a soccer player at heart.
Favorite Athlete: Alex Morgan is a boss. Not only is she a mother, but also balances parenting with the job of being a professional athlete ... talk about a kick--- role model.
What is one thing that people don't know about you?: One thing people don't know about me is I was the captain of a world-class competitive robotics team for six years! I started from seventh grade up to my junior year of high school. In that span, we qualified for three world championship competitions. I personally earned both an award for an animated PSA I created (three-time state winner) and was a Dean's List finalist.
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