By: Nate Schneider
Rebecka Poljan continuing family legacy at Lansing Catholic Central
Carving your own legacy in the Poljan family comes with its challenges.
Rebecka Poljan, a senior volleyball star at Lansing Catholic Central, comes from a family full of fantastic athletes.
Both Poljan parents were standout collegiate athletes, her mother Amy at Indiana after a Hall of Fame softball career and her dad Rick as a Central Michigan football player.
One of seven children, Rebecka watched her older brother Tony excel as a quarterback at Lansing Catholic Central through 2015 and now as a redshirt freshman at Central Michigan he is the likely future multi-year starter at the position.
As for Rebecka, she adores her brother and everyone in her family but she is not content with playing second fiddle to anyone.
“When I was younger I was really into basketball,” Poljan said. “I wasn’t really good at volleyball until my freshman year and I really started focusing on it my sophomore year. Before that, I wanted to play basketball at MSU. In third grade I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to go play basketball at Michigan State and then go on to the WNBA.’ I would motivate myself by thinking that, but then I got into high school and I fell in love with volleyball.”
Poljan, who stands at 6-foot-2, did not need the sport of basketball to get her athletic scholarship to Michigan State as volleyball has provided her the same avenue. She verbally committed to the Spartans in the spring of 2016 and has remained firm in her desire to play for the green and white.
In having the dream of playing for Michigan State, she has endured some gentle ribbing from family members.
“My family doesn’t dislike Michigan State, it’s nothing like that,” Poljan said. “But it’s kind of funny, every time it’s brought up my brother is always ribbing me and asking why I’m going there. Everyone thinks because we live so close that we’re Michigan State fans, but the rest of my family are actually fans of Central Michigan. But I love Michigan State and I’m very happy with my commitment.”
While starring on the volleyball court at Lansing Catholic Central, Poljan is consistently reminded of Tony’s accomplishments as a Cougars quarterback.
“I love Tony to death,” Rebecka said. “He’s been a big role model in my life. I work out with a trainer who hangs Tony’s ‘Gatorade Player of the Year’ trophy up in his gym, so I see that every day. I use it as motivation more than anything.”
After being coached the last three years by Ryan Miller, Poljan and Lansing Catholic Central now have a new head coach this year in Dale Wethy. He coached the previous three seasons at Lansing Christian.
Wethy has opted to move Poljan to the left side more frequently as opposed to mostly in the middle, adding versatility to her game as she prepares for the college level.
“She’s a game-changer in the sense of being the type of player that is a physical dominant force who intimidates opponents,” Wethy said. “You see her and are like, ‘Oh crap, she’s hitting at me.’”
Additionally, Wethy is a huge fan of the leadership she has brought to the table in his first year at the helm.
“Becka is a teacher of the game,” Wethy added. “She’s very much willing to give her knowledge of everything she’s been taught. She’s very much a coach’s player. When she’s in the game, she’s very much pushing them to where they need to be on the court. She’s my voice because her and I are very much on the same page.”
The Cougars swept their matches on September 19 and Sept. 21, defeating Ionia at home in four sets and sweeping Eaton Rapids in three sets to improve their record to 9-5-2.
After falling in district action last year, Poljan has huge hopes to achieve a second district championship in three years and perhaps more once the postseason rolls around next month.
“We’d like to go as far as we can,” Poljan added. “Volleyball is an up-and-down sport and it kind of depends on if you show up mentally every day. We were talking about this as a team [last week]. We all want to take that next step. It’s a team goal. We all want to put in the work in practice and we can do that if we stick true to it.”
Lansing Catholic Central will head to Fowlerville for Class B districts late next month.