Sept. 17, 2012
Stanford's success over the last three seasons has elevated the program's national standing as a top-25 fixture and postseason regular.
Veterans such as senior Emily Henriksson have helped Stanford achieve that type of recognition. A 5-5 attacker and the team's vice captain, Henriksson has appeared in every game since redshirting the 2009 campaign. Henriksson is coming off a breakthrough junior season in which she tallied career-high totals in goals, points and shots. Versatile enough to start or come off the bench, Henriksson has played in all eight games this year and is off to another good start.
The Los Angeles, Calif., native joins a group of upperclassmen who have helped position Stanford for long-term success. After all, the Cardinal has compiled a 49-15 record during her career on The Farm and the future looks equally promising. However, like many of her teammates, Henriksson is just as accomplished in her endeavors off the turf.
THE STUDENT on...
You're finishing up coursework toward a major of mechanical engineering. Walk us through your specific area of study.
"The plan is to apply to co-term in mechanical engineering during the winter so I can hopefully start a Masters next year. I'm interested in medical engineering and medical technology, but also want to take classes on mechatronics. My favorite class I've taken so far has been ME101 (Mechanical Engineering 101). It's a project-based class and the main project at the end requires students to build machines made completely out of foam board that perform different tasks. We had to build two machines. One was still while the other had wheels, triggers for timing, played catch with a ping pong ball and raised a flag at the end. So there are a lot of cool projects. It introduces you to the design behind engineering, and that's what got me excited about mechanical engineering."
In addition to studying in Europe during the winter, you were fortunate enough to return in the summer. While that probably didn't give you much of a summer vacation, it must have been a rewarding experience.
"I studied abroad during the winter in Berlin as part of the Krupp Internship Program. Then I went back for the summer. Due to the start of preseason, I wasn't able to complete a three-month internship, so I told them about my situation and we were able to find an internship that lasted only two months. I was based in Stuttgart, Germany, which is known for its high-tech industry and serves as the European headquarters for a lot of big names such as Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. I was working at Bosch in the automotive electronics division. My role was essentially to collect and load profiles of the ECU (engine control unit) in different types of German-engineered cars to test reliability and make sure they wouldn't fail. I was working on one project the entire summer. It was a really cool experience and I was able to learn a lot about programming and German engineering, which is so prestigious within the car industry. It was a great way to experience the working culture of Germany."
There's a rumor you also have skills as an opera singer. You want to set the record straight on that?
"OK, so I don't actually sing opera. I do like to sing a lot, though. I sang in our choir in high school. We ended up singing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles one year, and I had a solo performing the "Ave Maria". I guess that's borderline opera, but not really. During bus rides when we play at UC Davis or Pacific, the team would always make me sing the "Ave Maria" over the intercom. It started my freshman year. So, I just sing the same rendition on the bus that I performed at the Disney Hall. Tara (Danielson) probably thought it was opera. But it's not opera. I can't even reach those notes. I have sung the anthem before one of our games, though. But other than high school choir, I have no formal training."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
THE ATHLETE on...
Three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Three straight seasons of at least 15 victories. A mainstay in the national rankings. This program continues to set a high standard.
"The past few years have been real exciting. I feel that right now, more than ever before, there is really a defined goal and that's to win a national championship. I remember back to my freshman year, where the goal was to make the NCAA Tournament and challenge for a spot among the final four teams. We were always a good, solid team. But now the bar has been raised. The organization, strategy and philosophy among our team and coaches have been really promising. We now have a very set goal: that we want to be playing in the last game. That's what drives us."
Long regarded as an afterthought, field hockey on the West Coast is quickly gaining attention and Stanford is leading that charge. You were among the California players we talked to last year about this subject. One year later, what is your take?
"It's still really exciting for our program and really, the West Coast in general. Obviously, we want to do the best within our conference, but we're always really excited if we hear about Cal beating a ranked team. Or maybe UC Davis and Pacific have a good result. We want the West Coast to become more prominent in field hockey. So, it's great to see field hockey being built up on the West Coast. We're getting enough votes from coaches of East Coast teams to stay in the top-10. That type of respect resulted in an NCAA Tournament at-large bid last year."
Between the quarter system scheduling and an early August report date, you guys are on campus with the other fall sports before things get into full swing. In fact, half of your season is completed before the first day of school.
"Physically, it's really taxing because even before the games start in late August, I don't know if there is even a limit as to how much we can train. But off the field, you're in a dorm with your teammates and in most cases, your best friends. We paint each others' nails, make hair-wraps, things like that. I was working over the summer with my internship, so I was actually looking forward to this preseason. It represented sort of a `mini-vacation', in that I'm working out really hard and training with my team, but it's also a fun time. Not to mention, it can be a great opportunity for the freshmen as they transition into college. They are surrounded by a support group and get to know where everything is by the time school starts."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- Brian Risso, Athletics Communications/Media Relations