SAAC Spotlight: Western Washington's Claire Henninger
Claire Henninger played in four games at goalkeeper in 2019, making four saves and earning a shutout of Saint Martin's at home on Oct. 15.
Claire Henninger played in four games at goalkeeper in 2019, making four saves and earning a shutout of Saint Martin's at home on Oct. 15.
Claire Henninger
Claire Henninger

Friday, May 29, 2020

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: Claire Henninger
Women’s Soccer
Western Washington University
Sequim, Washington

Why Did You Choose To Attend Western Washington?: Western Washington has a great location and kinesiology program while also having one of the best Division II women’s soccer programs in the nation.

What Is Your Favorite Class You Have Taken And Why?: Behavioral Neuroscience because it was fascinating to learn about the complexity and functionality of the brain. I often found myself deeply motivated to study and do work because the content was fun to learn and apply.

Who Is Your Favorite Professor And What Did You Enjoy About Learning From Him Or Her?: My favorite professor is Dr. Jessyca Arthur-Cameselle, who taught my Sociology of Sport course. Her lectures and requirements were clear, thorough and easy to follow. She discussed controversial and thought-provoking topics in depth. We discussed issues and trends in sports that impact a lot of people in society and she went above and beyond to help us answer any questions that we had.

Years Involved In SAAC: Two years.

The Reason You Chose To Get Involved In SAAC: I joined SAAC because it presented the opportunity to develop leadership skills with other student-athletes while serving the best interests of our teams. We have the capability to catalyze positive change in our athletic department and on campus and it’s exciting.

Most Memorable SAAC Activity To Date: Helping Lydia Place provide those in need with essentials was a highlight.

How Do You Feel Participating In SAAC Will Help You In Life After You Graduate?: Participating in SAAC will further my ability to work collaboratively with others, take initiative and act with integrity and intentionality in everything that I do.

What Does It Mean To You To Be A Division II Student-Athlete?: It means that I get to do things that I am passionate about. I love soccer and learning and they are balanced in a healthy way.

What Is The Most Important Thing You’ve Learned About Balancing Athletics And Academics?: Balance is key. The ability to be flexible, work hard and know when to ask for help is huge, but I know that I still have a lot to learn.

Favorite Thing About Competing In The GNAC: We get to play in a beautiful area.

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: It’s hard to choose just one, but the moment when I found out that I will get to play soccer in college was memorable.

If You Could Change One NCAA Rule, It Would Be: Don’t allow athletes of any sport to be “one and done.” Having a degree may be the biggest difference in long-term success. The emphasis on academics created by changing this rule may also reduce instances of cheating and academic dishonesty, create a more stable financial and educational footing, and produce more well-rounded student-athletes, even if they do end up going professional. Obtaining a degree should be mandatory.

Current Mentor(s): They know who they are. I also think that you can learn from anyone so that’s what I try to do.

Best Advice You’d Give To An Incoming Freshman: Be proactive, ask questions, look for opportunities for growth and enjoy every moment.

If You Could Spend The Day With One Person (Past Or Present), Who Would It Be (And Why)?: Mother Teresa. She loved like nothing else and is an example of unconditional faith and compassion that I think we should all seek to follow.

Extracurricular Activities: I am a member of SAAC and involved at the Western Washington Newman Center. I also work for Dominos and enjoy skiing, hiking, cooking, reading, traveling and playing the piano and saxophone.

Future Goals After Graduation: I would love to travel, stay involved in soccer and continue to learn from others.

Favorite Sports Team: United States Women’s National Soccer Team.

Favorite Athlete: Julie Ertz.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You Is: I was born completely deaf.