Pollard shows leadership beyond track world

Andy McDonough

An American flag flies proudly above Quinnipiac University’s campus every day. However, the flag that flew on Sept. 22, during the track team’s annual Quinnipiac Invitational, carried special significance.

That flag flew above campus at the request of former track standout Peter Pollard. Less than two months earlier, the flag had flown outside a United States military base in Afghanistan, where Pollard serves as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army.

Head men’s and women’s track coach Shawn Green said that he watches the news differently knowing that one of his former runners is serving in Afghanistan.

“It gives you a direct tie to what’s going on over there,” he said.

Pollard is from Wrentham, Mass. He transferred to Quinnipiac from Northeastern at the beginning of his junior year. He ran with distinction at Quinnipiac for three years, staying through earning a graduate degree in 2003.

Pollard holds the Quinnipiac indoor record in the 1000-meter distance with a time of 2:29.75 seconds. He was the first IC4A qualifier in the history of Quinnipiac Track.

Green described Pollard as specializing more in track events than cross country events, although he was strong in both. Green mentioned the 3000-meter steeplechase as another strong event of Pollard’s.

Pollard also brought intangibles to Quinnipiac track.

“He was the guy that kept the mood light on the team,” Green said. Green also praised Pollard’s leadership skills.

Throughout his time at Quinnipiac Pollard did have disagreements with Green. “We didn’t always see eye to eye,” Green said.

Any tension apparently waned as Pollard sent the flag along with a letter illustrating his appreciation for Green’s efforts. The flag currently resides on Green’s desk.

“When you’re being challenged, you don’t always appreciate it, but later in life hopefully it pays off,” Green said.

According to Green, Pollard’s path to the military began with Army ROTC training at Northeastern. He arranged to continue his ROTC training through commuting to UConn regularly while at Quinnipiac.

After completing his ROTC training, Pollard entered the reserves. The military eventually called his reserve unit to active duty.

Pollard and his new teammates will remain in Afghanistan until the spring of 2007. Pollard married his wife Jessica shortly before his deployment to Afghanistan this year.

As Pollard’s flag was raised during the Quinnipiac Invitational, a ceremony reflected the university’s appreciation for his service to the United States.

“I thought the ceremony was a nice way to honor what he and all of our other soldiers are doing,” Green said.