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PANTHERS IN THE MEDIA!

May 10, 2012
Fossil Ridge Track and Field



By Kevin Lonnquist
klonnquist@star-telegram.com
The reluctant seventh-grader walked on to the track at Hillwood Middle School because she didn't have any other choice.
In middle school, all student athletes must pick a sport. So Mia Pollard picked track and ran. And ran faster. And faster. And faster to the point that not only was she passing other middle school students, she was leaving them well behind.
"I didn't know I could run like that," the Keller Fossil Ridge junior sprinter said. "I just feel like it comes naturally. But I've trained to get better."
Four years later, she's about to run on the grandest stage in high-school track - the Mike A. Myers Stadium surface at the University of Texas in Austin.
On Saturday evening, Pollard will compete in the 100 and 200 events. She qualified at the Region I meet two weeks ago in Lubbock when she finished second in the 100 (11.76 seconds) and third in the 200 (25.9). She will be seeded fourth in the 100 and third in the 200. The 100 is scheduled to start at 6:35 p.m. The 200 is scheduled for 7:25 p.m.
"You have to have a good mindset," Pollard said. "You have to be ready and positive that you can run as well as you know you can."
Running swiftly has come naturally for Pollard. During regular season meets, she has dominated the competition wherever she has run. Traditionally, Fossil Ridge girls track coach Brandi Watkins has run in her the 100, 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
But Watkins played a hunch and placed Pollard in the 200 last month at the District 7-5A track meet in Coppell. Pollard didn't have much of a history in the event but had the mechanics, a strong push off the block and the raw speed to run. The results speak for themselves. She won the district championship in both.
"She's an amazing athlete," Watkins said. "Mia just has natural form. Now, that she's realizing that, she's putting in the work. To me, it just looks like everything is effortless."
This track season is a bit of redemption for Pollard. She probably could have been in this position in 2011. She finished second in the 100 at the 7-5A meet as a sophomore. But she said she didn't take care of her academics like she said she should have and wound not being able to go to Lubbock.
It was a tough lesson.
"I cried, because I knew what an opportunity I had," Pollard said. "I just realized that I'm going to have to stay on top of my grades because that means so much. The coaches can push you, but I have to do it myself. I'm a manager for the football team, so I know I had to make sure I take care of everything on my end."
Once the state meet concludes, Pollard will take two weeks off and then begin her summer season. Her ability has caught the attention of college programs including Texas A&M, TCU and Kansas State.
"What's been fun about this is that I've just seen her mature at all parts of her life," Watkins said. "She's become more responsible. She steps up to the competition. And she's become a team leader."

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/05/07/3941487/fossil-ridge-sprinting-star-chose.html#storylink=cpy


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