Claire Houghtaling, a four-year athlete for the Knights, plays attack for the women’s lacrosse team and is second on the team with 11 goals this season. She was named to the CAC All-Academic team three years in a row and has scored 43 goals in the46 games she’s played in her collegiate career. Claire also played volleyball for the Knights as an outside hitter.
“Claire plays with veracity and power and brings her unique wit, humor and finesse to every moment of lacrosse,” head women’s lacrosse coach Nancy Webber commented. “Claire is not only an amazing lacrosse player; she is an incredible leader, a motivating captain, the most loyal of teammates and a treasure to her coaches.”
What brought you to Southern Virginia University?
My dad made me come visit when I was a sophomore and then again when I was a senior in high school. The second time around it just clicked, I met some awesome people here and it was really good experience. I knew I wanted to continue my athletic career in a good environment that was closer to home and I had the opportunity to play both volleyball and lacrosse here which was a major plus and something I wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere else.
What are you studying and what has been a favorite class of yours?
Liberal arts—one of the classes that I found the most rewarding was the History of the Holocaust with Dr. Lora Knight. It emphasized a specific event in history that was heartbreaking but it was so interesting to dive into the details of it.
When did you first begin playing lacrosse?
Since the eighth grade, my dad made me sign up.
What do you enjoy about lacrosse?
I like lacrosse because it relates to every sport; the defense of basketball, the movement of soccer, and field play like hockey, I like that it’s very strategic.
What would you like to do for a career?
I would like to be an elementary school teacher for third-fifth graders. I also want to coach either lacrosse or volleyball, I love those sports so much and I’m so sad I’m almost done playing them. I want to stay involved with them in any way I can.
Describe the most memorable experience during your collegiate athletic career so far:
I think it’s about to happen! This is the most physically and mentally prepared I’ve been for a season. For me, it’s the little successes like finishing a work out in better times or pushing myself to not take long rests in between workouts. We’re facing some challenges right now as a team, but I think that there are lessons to be learned through this experience and that something big is about to happen for us.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of playing your sport?
I love to hang out with my nieces and nephews, they are my favorite little people. I am also an avid movie watcher. I love movies and am a big Disney person, I am positive I can quote every single word of “Emperor’s New Groove.” Honestly, I could watch “White Chicks,” “She’s the Man,” and “Emperor’s New Groove” every day.
Where is your all-time favorite place to visit?
Disney World—my family loves Disney World, we are Disney vacation club members so I’ve easily gone over 20 times in my life.
Outside of your family, who is the most influential person in your life?
Coach Webber, she is big on improving us not only as athletes but as people. She emphasizes the importance of life experiences—I’ll be talking to her about a lacrosse issue and she will translate it to a real-life scenario and it’s really cool getting to learn from her. She is such a great example and force for good in my life—she is everybody’s therapist and mom away from home.
What piece of advice would you give elementary school children?
To enjoy every moment as it comes –I feel like I’m quoting a Taylor Swift song, but just love the way you dance around the room when your little or how your dad comes home and tackles you. Just enjoy the little things.
Name three people, real or fictional, living or dead, that you'd like to have dinner with?
Walt Disney, Draco Malfoy (I think I’d be very beneficial for him and I could make him a little nicer and not hate people so much) and Crazy Steve off the T.V. series, “Drake and Josh.”
What is your all-time favorite inspirational quote?
“Never give up. Never surrender.” – Jason Nesmith, Galaxy Quest.