• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Local native's fiancée going for gold in Rio


On Saturday morning, Mike and Tracey “Sobo” Sobolewski will watch future daughter-in-law and Olympic rower Amanda Polk row for gold in Rio. Tracey is the longtime coach of the Woodford County High School track team. Their son, Eric, is a former WCHS quarterback who went on to play at Utah State and Weber State. He and younger brother Sean are in Rio, where on Tuesday, they saw Amanda and her seven teammates qualify for the finals. Back in Versailles, Mike and Sobo watched it on television. “It’s fun. It’s a whole different deal when you have a personal interest,” Sobo said. Eric and Amanda, a Pittsburgh native, are both athletes, but their romance is hardly typical. Sobo said they met in May of 2015 after being introduced by a cousin of his, who’d rowed with Amanda at the University of Notre Dame. By the time they met, Eric was teaching at Texas Tech, while Amanda was training for her second Olympics (she’d been an alternate in London in 2012) at Princeton University. It was a long way to go to see a person in person for the first time. “They Facetimed and did all that Internet stuff for a long time and hit it off and really seemed to enjoy each other, so Eric flew to New Jersey, and they met, and now they’re getting married,” Sobo said. “It’s kind of scary, how much they’re alike.” Asked whether the couple ever had friendly arguments argued over who was the better athlete, Sobo laughed. “Oh yes. Very much. I think right now, Eric has to take second seat, but after the Olympics, I’m sure that they’ll have some of their own competition between each other,” she said. Sobo said after Eric and Amanda marry, they’ll move to Greenville, S.C., where he will teach at Furman University. Come Saturday morning, Sobo and Mike will have a few neighbors over to watch their future daughter-in-law row for all she’s worth in Rio. “Nerve-wracking. Very nerve-wracking. Exciting, fun, but it’ll be – it takes a little over six minutes, so breathing for six minutes is going to be tough,” she said. It probably won’t be too easy for the presently top-ranked top athlete in her family, either.

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