2010/JUNIOR: Pepperdine Scholar-Athlete ... WCC All-Academic Honorable Mention ... Earned WCC Commissioner's Honor Roll "silver" honors ... Returned to the cross country team for the first time in two years after missing all of 2009 due to overseas studies ... Placed third overall in her first race, the season-opening Malibu Oceanside Open, completing the Alumni Park course in 19:32.37 ... Finished fourth among all Pepperdine runners at the 6K WCC Championships (23:24) and was the Waves' No. 3 runner at the NCAA West Regional with a season-best 6K of 22:56.10 ... Posted her fasted 5K of the year (19:04.03) at the Bronco Invitational hosted by Santa Clara.
2009/SOPHOMORE: Did not compete due to overseas studies.
2008/FRESHMAN: Pepperdine Scholar-Athlete ... Earned WCC Commissioner's Honor Roll "silver" honors ... Competed in six regular-season meets as a freshman ... Highest Pepperdine finish was a third-place showing (31st overall) at the Cal State Fullerton Titan Invitational where she posted a 5K time of 19:28.2 ... Her season-best 5K of 19:26 was recorded a week earlier at Santa Clara's Bronco Invitational ... Registered a season-best 6K of 22:58.63 at the Pepperdine Invitational at Alumni Park.
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.