Max Manyak spotlight

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Sophomore Max Manyak is turning heads all across Southern California leading into this 2017 lacrosse season.

Manyak plays lacrosse among the best in Los Angeles, having played for the LA Mavericks Elite A and national teams, as well as the West Coast Starz local and national teams. Manyak announced his verbal commitment to the University of Notre Dame in late November 2016. He is the only 2019 graduate in the area committed to a Division I program.

Sophomore Max Manyak plays lacrosse during a home game. Manyak stands as one of the top lacrosse players in southern California and has verbally announced his commitment to the University of Notre Dame (Reprinted with permission from Marc Goodnough).

At 6 foot 2 inches tall, Manyak is a force to be reckoned with. He can be easily identified on the field with his flaming red hair poking out of his chrome Oak Park helmet.

“[Manyak] is a leader and someone I and the rest of my teammates look up to. Off of the field, Max is probably one of the smartest, hardest working kids that I know,” sophomore Tyler Bradbury, a close friend and teammate of Manyak, said.

Manyak started playing lacrosse in fourth grade at Oak Hills Elementary School when it was introduced in his physical education class and said he has adored the sport ever since.

“I just absolutely fell in love. I loved how it was so fast, unique, and required so much skill and IQ,” Manyak said wrote to the Talon. “It was exactly what I was looking for at the time even though I didn’t know it. Now I can’t imagine if I hadn’t picked up a stick all those years ago.”

In high school, Manyak began his lacrosse career as a freshman on the varsity team, scoring 20 goals in his first season. Although being one of the youngest on his team was exciting, Manyak also said that it was frightening at first.

“Honestly, I was terrified, and during my first game it clearly showed. It was hard getting my confidence up, but I did and it helped get me to where I am today,” Manyak wrote.

I cannot express how excited I am about going to Notre Dame. [I will be] living my dream for four years, playing with the best players in the country at one of the best schools in the country”

— Max Manyak

All along his journey, Max has had support from his family, friends and coaches.

“They have all pushed me to work harder and harder and always get back up when I fall down,” Manyak wrote. “They taught me many life lessons that I have applied to my game. Also, they were there for me every step of the way, and I couldn’t do what I do without any of them.”

Manyak played in a variety of showcases and tournaments throughout the summer of 2016, constantly playing in front of prominent Division I coaches. After receiving offers from numerous Division I schools, he ultimately chose Notre Dame to continue his lacrosse career.

“I chose Notre Dame because it is the best fit for me both athletically and academically,” Manyak wrote to the Talon. “It is part of arguably the best conference in all of college lacrosse, and the coaches, team culture and facilities are second to none. Academically, it is an incredible school that will provide me with all of the resources I need to pursue my future career.”

Manyak says he plans to double major in business and biology at Notre Dame, pass the MCAT as a senior, and then continue to medical school in order to become an orthopedic surgeon.

“I cannot express how excited I am about going to Notre Dame. [I will be] living my dream for four years, playing with the best players in the country at one of the best schools in the country. Simply put, I wish I could be there already,” Manyak wrote.

But, still a high school student, Manyak said that he looks forward to Oak Park’s upcoming season and foresees the team having great success.

“I envision the team making it far into playoffs. We just need to put in the work everyday and take care of business,” Manyak wrote.

Besides practicing, Manyak has other ways that he plans to prepare for big games. Through his athletic career, he’s established superstitions that he diligently follows before games.

I believe we have one of the best teams Oak Park has seen in the past few years, and I really believe we can wreak some havoc this year”

— Max Manyak

“I wear the same shirt and underwear. I have four pairs of underwear that I travel with. I have good-luck socks too. Also, my stick has to be perfect. Right before every game, I always tighten all of my shooting strings. I have a nylon on top, and I do that every time and make sure that everything is tight. And I put all of my pads on in the same exact order,” Manyak said.

Besides wearing specific pieces of clothing and dressing in a specific order, Manyak also has specific foods that he likes to eat.

“I always eat almonds in between games and before games. They are just some good quick energy and protein, and they help settle my stomach,” Manyak said. “But my biggest superstition is that I always need to have a piece of spearmint gum. I need to have gum. I can’t go on the field without it.”

Manyak will also listen to music before most practices and all games: anything loud — rap or hip hop — like his go-to song “Dead or Alive” by Jazz Cartier. According to Manyak, this type of music pumps him up and prepares him to play.

Manyak said he looks forward to the upcoming season, and the opportunities that come with it.

“I really want to see our team develop and really work on building our team chemistry,” Manyak wrote. “I believe we have one of the best teams Oak Park has seen in the past few years, and I really believe we can wreak some havoc this year.”

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