2011/JUNIOR: Pepperdine Scholar-Athlete ... Lone race was in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Northridge Invitational and recorded a time of 12:29.42.
HIGH SCHOOL: Graduated Cum Laude from Forsyth Country Day School in 2008, where she a multi-year letterwinner in cross country and track for head coach Noel Rubel, whom she considers her biggest sports hero ... Career best marks include a 19:37 in the 5K and a 5:23 in the 1,600-meter run ... Set a school record with her 4x800-meter relay team ... Led school to a cross country state championship in 2006 ... Cross country team captain and three-time MVP ... Voted MVP of the track team as a senior ... During junior year, was a cross country conference champion and all-state selection ... Placed third at the cross country conference meet in 2007 ... Was on the second place team as a freshman at the Great American Cross Country Festival ... Received Forsyth Country Day School Outstanding Female Athlete Award ... National Honor Society member ... Served as President and Vice President of school's National Art Honor Society ... Member of Mu Alpha Theta ... Presented with seven Scholastic Gold Key Art awards and the National Visions Award.
PERSONAL: Given name is Emily Joy Branch ... Daughter of Charlie and Lesa Branch ... Has two brothers, Byron and Daniel, and two sisters, Leslie and Courtney ... Siblings, Byron, Leslie and Courtney, and brother-in-law, Brendan Groves, all attended Pepperdine ... Majoring in art ... Career goals are to "improve and strengthen myself physically and mentally" ... Grew up on a farm with forty miniature horses and eight chickens ... Chose Pepperdine because of "the great academics and art program, plus the coach and the team and all the exciting plans for the running programs" ... Lists Makenzie Pierce and Molly Nunn as the toughest people she has competed against in her sport.
FAVORITES: Favorite hobbies include oil painting, praying, rock climbing, snowboarding and sleeping ... Loves cross country because of "the feeling of accomplishment after a hard workout or race" ... Favorite pro athlete is Blake Russell ... Favorite team is the U.S. Olympic Team ... Favorite books are the Holy Bible, the Harry Potter series and Crime and Punishment ... Favorite movie is Phantom of the Opera ... Favorite TV shows include anything on the Food Network or History Channel ... Favorite musical artists are Michael Buble, Alison Kraus and Postal Service ... Favorite food is Italian.