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December 11, 2009


Two Seniors, Selected From Nearly 55,000 Applicants, Honored at 16th Annual Awards Ceremony

Two celebrated high school student athletes from Louisiana and Colorado went for the gold this evening at the Wendy's High School Heisman awards ceremony in New York City. Malia Cali and Kyle Pollock were named national winners of the prestigious award, which honors exceptional students who bring excellence in academics, athletics and community service. The two winners were chosen from nearly 55,000 applicants — the highest entry pool in the award program's 16 year history — across the country throughout the local, state and national levels:

  • Malia Cali, of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Hammond, La. is a three-year All State selection in track and field, cross-country and soccer, and commands the No. 1 academic ranking in her senior class. In addition to lettering as a three-sport Varsity athlete, Malia is active in the St. Thomas Aquinas Academic Honor Society, is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and for two consecutive years, she has received the Joe Distefano Academic Scholarship.
  • Kyle Pollock, of Wiggins High School in Wiggins, Colo. boasts a trifecta of athletic prowess having lettered in wrestling, football, and track and field. He's ranked No. 1 in his class and has an active tenure in student government, having served as president for one year and as a student government representative throughout high school. For three years, Kyle has been dedicated to Future Business Leaders of America, and he's received the University of Colorado Outstanding Junior award.

Cali and Pollock were selected from an exceptional group of national finalists, made up of six male and six female students from six U.S. regions, representing a variety of sports and extracurricular activities. Tonight's award ceremony will air on ESPN2, Sunday, Dec. 13, at 5:30 p.m. EST.

"The Wendy's High School Heisman award is committed to honoring outstanding high school student- athletes who continue to shine in the classroom, on the field, in their local communities," said Archie Griffin, two-time collegiate Heisman Memorial Trophy winner. "We're honored to have Malia and Kyle enter the esteemed ranks of Heisman greatness. They're the future of college athletics and I look forward to following their careers as they excel at the next level and inspire future high school Heisman candidates."

With nearly 55,000 applications submitted this year, whittling the finalist list down to the most exceptional recipients was challenging. But given their well-rounded backgrounds, it's easy to see why they were the front-runners in this year's High School Heisman race.

Cali holds three state records in cross-country and was named Most Valuable Player for three consecutive years in three sports: soccer, track and field, and cross-county. What sets Cali apart is her commitment to community service and dedication to Cleats for Kids, a non-profit that she founded in high school. Next year, Cali plans on visiting Nicaragua to deliver gently used athletic cleats so that children have the opportunity to stay active and healthy through team sports. She also participates in Habitat for Humanity and Relay for Life.

In the next year, Pollock aims to finish his senior year as a three-sport athlete and valedictorian, and plans to continue competition as a collegiate wrestler. Pollock is on pace to set a school record for winning percentage with 35 consecutive wins during his junior year, an impressive 85-9 record and he set a Colorado record with four pins in the state tournament. He was also a varsity football captain for the past three seasons and has lettered in football for four years. In 2008, he was on the 2A State Championship Wiggins track team and took second place as a discus thrower at the Colorado State Regional's. Pollock serves his community through his work with the Salvation Army and demonstrates his passion for coaching and mentoring youth sports team through Wiggins Pee Wee Sports.

This year's two national winners each receive a crystal Wendy's High School Heisman trophy, a $10,000 donation to their respective high schools and recognition during the collegiate Heisman ceremony in New York City on Saturday, Dec. 12.

The other 10 Wendy's High School Heisman national finalists who deserve recognition:

Name Gender High School City State
Kelly Curran F Central Catholic High School Bloomington IL
Joseph Harman M Philomath High School Philomath OR
Kalle Jahn M Brattleboro High School Brattleboro VT
Caroline Janssen F Hill Country Christian School Austin TX
Alexander McCandless M Sevier County High School Sevierville TN
Katelyn Rossick F Middletown Senior High School Middletown MD
William Sievern M Reitz Memorial High School Evansville IN
Oliver Song M High Technology High School Lincroft NJ
Kristabel Stark F Whitinsville Christian High School Whitinsville MA
Jessica Tonn F Xavier College Preparatory Phoenix AZ

2009 Wendy's High School Heisman National Finalists:

Created in 1994 by Wendy's and the Heisman Memorial Trust, the Wendy's High School Heisman Award recognizes outstanding high-school seniors nationwide who excel in athletics, academics and in the community. Students can now self-nominate for the award online, in addition to being recommended by principals, teachers, guidance counselors and coaches. The most exceptional students are then selected to advance during extensive judging processes conducted at both state and national levels.

NOTE: To view photos and bios of this year's national winners and finalists, as well as photos from Heisman weekend, please visit

The Wendy's name and design, and the Wendy's High School Heisman and design are trademarks of Oldemark LLC and are licensed to Wendy's International, Inc. The Heisman name and Heisman Trophy statuette are registered trademarks of the Heisman Trophy Trust, used with permission.

Kitty Munger
Wendy's International
(614) 764-3241

Michael Shriner
Ketchum Public Relations
(312) 228-6933

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