SAAC Spotlight: Simon Fraser's Alex Baylak
Alex Baylak started all 50 games for the Simon Fraser softball team this season.
Alex Baylak started all 50 games for the Simon Fraser softball team this season.

Friday, May 27, 2016

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. Click here for more information on the function of SAAC at the NCAA level.

Name: Alex Baylak
Sport: Softball
School: Simon Fraser
Year: Senior
Major: Healthcare Science
Hometown: Regina, Sask.

Extracurricular activities: I like to get involved in anything that is active and is preferably outdoors. Yoga, trail runs, cooking and hiking are my go-to.

Why did you choose to attend SFU? I always dreamed of playing in the NCAA as a young player. Although moving to the U.S. to play was an option, I always knew I would prefer to stay here in Canada. SFU being the only Canadian NCAA school was the perfect match! SFU's competitive softball team alongside the school’s great academic standings was an exciting opportunity that I would not have even considered turning down.

What is your favorite class you have taken in college and why? My favorite class so far has been HSCI 304, which is environmental health. I have always been passionate about bettering one’s personal health through individualistic methods, but this class allowed me to learn about a whole new aspect of health. It sparked my interest and informed me of the issues we are currently facing in environmental health, which I was previously unaware of. It pushed me to look further into what I can do as an individual to be eco-friendlier, revealing a new path that I plan to explore more in the future.

Years involved in SAAC: Two years. 

The reason I chose to get involved in SAAC: I thought it was a great way to become further involved in SFU's athletics and it is an awesome opportunity to get to know athletes on other SFU teams.

Most memorable SAAC activity: It was this year at the Santa Claus Parade. We had a great crew come out to volunteer that made it a day full of laughter, even with the unfavorable rainy weather. Not to mention it was a great experience/feeling to be a part of something that you could see brought so much excitement to many children and their families.

What is the most important thing you've learned from balancing the demands of athletics and academics? TTL-This is a term that is used heavily on my team. It appears on the back of our practice shirts, hangs at our field and is used every day in our practices. It stands for “touch the line”. This has been a huge lesson for me that started with athletics and carried over into academics. Having the demands of athletics and academics is truly a balancing act. There are so many nights where you have a paper due or a workout that you don’t want to finish or put a full effort into, but being a student-athlete trains you to go that extra mile and push yourself both academically and physically. Being a student athlete has taught me that even if you have a full plate, if you prioritize, and commit to not cutting corners you can achieve a lot more than you would ever expect. This is something that can be carried it to every aspect of your life whether it be a career or your personal life.

What does it mean to be a Division II student-athlete? Commitment, heart and hard work.

Current mentor(s): My parents are definitely my biggest mentors. They are always the first ones I look to for advice and support!

Future goals after school: After I am finish my undergrad at SFU I plan to pursue a career in Occupational therapy. My long-term goal is to work within the aging community and specifically with individuals affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Biggest obstacle overcame during collegiate career: The biggest obstacle for me was making the various adjustments as a freshman. Moving away from home, having to face increased demands academically and athletically was definitely an adjustment.

Best advice I’d give to an incoming freshman: To come into this journey with an open mind and to not take one minute of the experience for granted.

Favorite sports team: Blue Jays, Rough Riders and Winnipeg Jets.

Favorite athlete: I would definitely pick Wayne Gretzky as my favorite athlete. He was an incredible, well-rounded athlete that never ceased to amaze people with his work ethic. What sets him apart for me is his humble attitude even after all the success he achieved throughout his career.

Most memorable sports-related moment: My most memorable moment was when our SFU softball team made it the final game of the GNAC Championships in my freshman year. I can honestly say I have never been so nervous in my entire life. It’s one of those moments you really appreciate in retrospect.

One thing that people don't know about me is: As a child I was weirdly obsessed with bugs. I would cry for hours when my brother tormented me by killing them.