Eastlake Wolves 2018 graduate Emma Bickford is the ultimate competitor in the realm of athletics.
Bickford, who committed to play softball for the Santa Clara University Broncos in September of 2017, knew the Broncos’ softball program was the perfect fit for her while going through the recruiting process. Bickford instantly clicked with Broncos head coach Lisa Dodd. Dodd landed the head coaching job at Santa Clara in June of 2017.
“I just liked her mentality when I talked with her. She is very competitive and I’m very competitive. I want to win. I feel like she (Dodd) values a lot of the same things I value,” Bickford said.
Dodd will be in her second season as head coach in 2019. Bickford is excited to be part of Dodd’s first recruiting class. The Broncos finished with an overall record of 9-37 during the 2018 season.
“I think we are going to have more success in the coming years because of our new coach (Dodd). My class is her first recruiting class and I know that we will continue to improve. I hope that we can make to the (NCAA) regional round and the NCAA tournament (during her collegiate career),” Bickford said.
Bickford, who played shortstop for the Wolves during her high school career, said she will play any position on the field that she is asked to at the collegiate level. Bickford’s competitive streak is a family tradition. Bickford’s father Dan played football at Western Washington University and her mother Michelle played volleyball at WWU as well.
“I played all sports my whole life. I met my husband at Western. I played volleyball and he played football. We are a very sports-driven family. Everyone has always been competitive in our family from brushing our teeth to racing up the stairs,” Michelle Bickford said with a smile. “It has always been that kind of competitive environment in our house.”
During childhood, Bickford chose to compete in the Little League baseball boys squads as opposed to playing on the girls softball teams. Bickford played on all-boys teams until she was 12 years old.
“I remember hitting my first home run in Little League. I hit it and ran around the bases. When I crossed home plate, my coach picked me up (into the air). I felt like I was on top of the world even though I was only 12. It was a lot of fun,” Bickford said.
When Bickford made the move to softball six years ago, it was a significant adjustment.
“It was weird at first because I loved baseball. When I got to softball, it was just a whole different feeling. It took awhile to get used to the (bigger) ball. I remember that,” Bickford recalled.
Playing the infield is something that comes naturally to Bickford. She thoroughly enjoys being in the thick of the action.
“There are so many responsibilities when you are on the left side of the field. It keeps you engaged. I think it’s the best spot because you have so much to think about. You have to know what every position has to do,” Bickford said.
Bickford said she will leave for Santa Clara this September. The 10-hour drive to campus from Sammamish is something Bickford’s parents are excited for and dreading at the same time.
“It is going to be really hard. She is my only girl. It definitely is going to be a big hole in our family when she leaves but we will be there for all the games. We will be her biggest fans and are very excited for the opportunity that she has,” Michelle Bickford said.
Bickford is excited about experiencing all that California has to offer.
“I have always wanted to be on the West Coast. I didn’t want to be super close to home but I wanted to be far enough away where it felt like a different atmosphere. I wanted to experience something new without having to change time zones. There is a lot of great opportunities in the Silicon Valley,” Bickford said.
Recently the Issaquah Reporter had an opportunity to ask Bickford a few questions about her life away from softball.
Issaquah Reporter: What is your favorite restaurant in Sammamish?
Emma Bickford: It is probably MOD Pizza. I really like their thin crust pizza there. It is a really fun atmosphere when you walk in.
IR: What is your biggest pet peeve?
EB: Slow walkers and when people aren’t paying attention. Especially when someone isn’t paying attention when they are driving or when they are in a public area.
IR: Who was your idol growing up?
EB: For a long time I looked up to sports stars. I looked up to Alex Morgan (professional soccer player) because I wanted to play soccer for a really long time in college. Now it’s moved on from sports players, I look up to my parents (Michelle and Dan) now.
IR: How many text messages do you send per day?
EB: I would have to say 20 at the max.
IR: Where do you see yourself in five years?
EB: I want to have a job or an internship in Silicon Valley.
IR: What is something unique about you that nobody would know?
EB: My family goes hunting. Mostly its grouse and pheasant hunting.
IR: Who was your favorite sports team growing up?
EB: I would have to say the Seattle Mariners. Only the true fans stay with the Mariners.