SAAC Retrospective: WWU Alum Bethany Skau
Skau is currently a middle school art teacher.
Skau is currently a middle school art teacher.
Skau was a javelin thrower for Western Washington from 2013 to 2017.
Skau was a javelin thrower for Western Washington from 2013 to 2017.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Throughout the year, will occasionally use this space to gain insight into the experiences of former GNAC student-athletes who were active participants in their institutional Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC). Each institution's SAAC serves as the primary governance arm representing student-athlete interests in Division II affairs. SAAC members serve as student-athlete liaisons that monitor and discuss happenings on campuses, within conferences, and at the national level.

Name: Bethany Skau (formerly Drake)
Track and Field - Javelin
Western Washington
Graduating year:
Undergraduate degree:
Fine Arts

What is your current occupation?: I am a middle school art teacher.

What is your favorite memory as a student-athlete and why?: The Division II Outdoor Tournament trip during my sophomore year of college! It was a really special year as we sent our largest group ever to nationals and all but one of us came back as All-Americans. It was also the most prepared and confident I’ve ever felt for a meet. After weeks of mental discipline, I felt totally in control and capable of achieving the results I wanted. It led to my first national title and three of my javelin teammates were also on the podium. I’ll never forget the joy of our trip home! Or the hours spent in drug testing.

How many years were you involved in SAAC?: Two years.

What activity/project are you most proud of from your time in SAAC?: Attending the Division II SAAC Convention was my most proud activity/involvement. It was incredible to meet athletes from all across the country and to get to represent Western Washington in that environment. I wish that I had attended sooner because it opened my eyes to the leadership potential within SAAC.

What has been your biggest takeaway from SAAC?: My biggest takeaway from SAAC is that we’re all on the same journey and we do it better together. Getting to know athletes from other schools gave me a sense of belonging and commonality with others. I knew that we were all striving to be our best and to make our schools a better place. SAAC gave me a greater sense of ownership over my experience and a sense that I could make a change and have a voice.

What is one thing that you wish you would have done more of in college?: I saw a sports psychologist in my last year of college. I wish that I had started sooner. The mental game is huge! It can be a great benefit or a great hindrance. I was at my best when I was in control of my mental game. I needed help outside of myself and I wish that I had sought resources sooner.

What is one thing that you wish you would have done less of in college?: Stressing about my future, about my training, about my name it. I was doing everything in my control to be successful and yet I still found myself worrying about things outside of my control. Know your circle of control and do everything you can to set yourself up for success but know there will always be things that you can’t control and that’s okay.

What advice would you give to yourself as a freshman in college?: As cliché as this is going to sound, trust the process and enjoy the journey. I spent a lot of time worrying about the future and results and I think I would have enjoyed my experience more if I had stayed present-minded and trusted my efforts. I was a walk-on to the team and started with no expectations, just pure enjoyment for the sport. I ended up as a nationals qualifier in my freshman year. It was an incredible experience but it led to a lot of self-inflicted pressure. I wish that I had just enjoyed it more! A piece of wisdom I later received that greatly encouraged me was, “You are known because of what you’ve done, but you are loved because of who you are.”

Favorite Sports Team: New York Yankees.

Favorite Athletes: Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer ever and a former New York Yankee!

What is one thing that people don't know about you?: In high school, I wanted to be a civil engineer but after some job shadowing I realized it was definitely not for me. My high school art teacher was the one who inspired me to be where I am now.