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Sports Notebook - Athletic, academic excellence seen as Pollak family legacy

By: Nathan Scherotter

Jan. 20, 2007

As a homerun is to baseball or a touchdown is to football, so too, it seems, is the Pollak family name to the word athlete.

The similarity isn’t hard to follow. Growing up a Pollak comes with great expectations, both on the field and in the classroom.

Kent and Julie Pollak have passed their athletic abilities on to their children. Kent was a three-sport athlete at the University of Oklahoma, Julie a gymnastics standout. Their children show no fewer talents.

The oldest of the siblings, Mike Pollak, graduated in 2003 from Corona del Sol High School, where he made first-team All-Conference, All-City and All-State teams for football.

“My experience at Corona was full of memories,” Mike said. “I had the opportunity to play with some great athletes and played for some outstanding coaches. I enjoyed wearing the orange jersey every time I stepped on the field.”

Now in his junior year at Arizona State University, Mike is experiencing similar successes there. Last year he was named to the second-team All-Pac 10 at the center position.

Unchanged at ASU from his stint at Corona is Mike’s determination to improve. He earned Hard Hat Player honors for his efforts on behalf of the team's off-season strength-and-conditioning program in his first three years, and Hard Hat Champion recognition in 2006.

In the same year, Mike was elected by his teammates to be a captain of the team, a designation that still makes him proud.

One thing it didn’t do, though, is slow down his resolve.

“My main goal is to make the Rose Bowl next year,” Mike said. “And a long-term goal is to make it on an NFL roster.”

Along with being a dominant presence on the football field, Mike exerts a strong influence in the life of his brother, Andrew Pollak.

As second oldest, Andrew looked to follow in his brother’s footsteps while playing football at Corona. After his sophomore year, however, Andrew switched sports and decided to focus instead on baseball.

“I decided to pursue baseball because it is my favorite thing to do,” Andrew said. “It is what I want to do in college.”

Last year, as a Corona junior, Andrew earned All-City honors, and recently has received signs of interest from various colleges. Nonetheless, Andrew says he is trying to maintain his perspective by keeping an eye on the present and not getting ahead of himself.

“My goal for the upcoming season is to work hard every day at practice, and everything should fall into place,” Andrew said.

“Right now, I’m not worried about colleges; I’m just getting ready for the season, and hopefully I can choose a college when the season is over.”

While he has seen the success of his brother and hopes to build on it, Andrew says he also recognizes the work it takes to be a top-level athlete.

“(I learned from Mike) how to handle yourself and the next level,” Andrew said.

“When he had to start six games as a freshman, it showed me how to turn your game up when the pressure is on.”

And while Andrew keeps his mind on the present, Mike says that if his brother works hard, does the “little things” right, and steps away from his comfort zone, success at any level is within reach.

The tradition of athletic excellence in the Pollak family is clear and evident. Even their youngest child, Jamie Pollak, a sophomore at Corona, is pursuing her passion for volleyball.

Such dedication from all three children can be attributed to both an inner drive to succeed and strong leadership from their parents.

Said Andrew:

“They (my parents) have taught me the importance of getting good grades in the classroom—and

how that will translate into success on the field.”


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