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Player Spotlight

Illpolo.com's Most Underrated Player

Mark Lakis helped Lyons Township remain undefeated until the final weekend of the regular season, as the Lions finished with a 22-1 record. He tallied over 100+ goals and was named as our Most Underrated Player in 2005. He was named to the All-Illpolo second team at the end of the season and was also selected to the All-State second team for his performance as well. We asked Mark the following questions in an exclusive Illpolo.com interview:

College choices, major, current GPA?

I will be attending U of I Urbana next year, and will be playing club polo. I will be majoring in Biochemistry for pre-med. Current GPA: 4.3.


Experience, Club Team, Zone Teams, Off-season work?


During the summer I played for the Lyons Water Polo club. My off-season work included weight training, swimming, football and cross-country.

When did you start? How? Where?


I started playing freshmen year. Prior to that, I had no idea of what water polo even was. I transferred to LT halfway through my freshman year, just at the beginning of the Spring Sports season. Having been a student athlete all my life, I was interested in which sports were being offered. On the list of spring sports was water polo. I could only gather a vague idea of the game from the few athletes I asked, but it sounded like a sport I could excel at. I had been playing organized football for 7 years and had been swimming for a club since I was 8. I figured that with my swimming background and my familiarity with heavy contact sports, water polo might be a perfect fit.


Awards and achievements?


Three years on varsity. Captain for junior and senior year. Junior year: All-State fourth team, All-Sectional first team, All-Conference first team, Team MVP. Sportsmanship award. Illinois State Scholar, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Four years, honor roll. Mark was named to the second team All-Illpolo and the second team All-State in 2005. He also earned All-Sectional honors as well.


Personal interests? Music? TV shows?


Water Polo and Training; Scrubs and The Simpsons.

Goals for the future with polo? School? Life?


While I am in pursuit of becoming a surgeon, my goal is to make myself known on the club polo scene, and perhaps transfer to play D1/D2 ball.


Motivation, inspiration?


My fellow teammates. Through all of my training and practice, there is always someone there to pushing me harder than I thought I could go. I have become best friends with every one on the team, especially the seniors. From the beginning of the year, I personally dedicated this season to my fellow seniors. I played every game knowing that this could be the last time Paul Wierdak and Kevin Brosnan would ever score a goal, the last time Gary Novak would ever swim in to defensive hole, the last time Chris Schremser and Mike Donatelli would ever suit up for a game, and most astonishingly, the last time Derrick Brace would ever stop a shot. I did everything I could this season hope to prolong my teammates' polo careers just one game longer. I think we did pretty well giving Lyons the first undefeated regular season ever.

First Season role?


My freshman season, I started as a utility player. I usually could be found down at the 1 position. During one of the games that season, I was given the chance to play offensive hole for a game; after scoring 8 goals, I new that this was going to be my position for the next 3 years.

Soph Year role?


After my success as a freshman, I was called up my sophomore  year to be the starting offensive hole set on Varsity. As a sophomore I finished the season tied for team leading scorer.

For the past two years I have been captain of the Varsity team, and leading scorer; having 104 goals my junior year.




Current season: This year, although improved, my offensive statistics remain similar to last seasons; finishing the year with 108 goals while doubling my assist total from last season. I feel that where I really stepped up as a player this season was on the Defensive side. This year, I believe I also led the team in defensive takeaways/steals. 


Other Comments?


I would like to thank my parents for always being there, and understanding why I was too tired to clean my room, or mow the lawn. I would also like to thank my coaches Doug Eichstaedt and Joe Holubeck for an unforgettable high school career.








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