SAN JOSE -- Archbishop Mitty teacher Anthony Rojo knew the lanky sophomore in his social studies class was a good figure skater.
But he had no inkling when Polina Edmunds took time off last week that she would return to class Tuesday as an Olympian.
Edmunds, 15, is headed to the Sochi Games next month after surprising the skating world in her senior national debut, where she finished second to champion Gracie Gold.
Her arresting performance last weekend at the U.S. Figure Skating championships in Boston sent a jolt of Olympic fever across the South Bay that was going strong Monday at Mitty and Sharks Ice San Jose.
Edmunds is the Bay Area's first Olympic singles skater since Brian Boitano of Sunnyvale took sixth at the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway.
Mitty is a California sports powerhouse boasting beach volleyball's Kerri Walsh Jennings and soccer's Brandi Chastain among its famous alums. Basketball star Aaron Gordon is a freshman at top-ranked Arizona this season.
"But to have a 15-year-old sophomore in the Olympics . . . " principal Tim Brosnan said, letting others fill in the rest.
Despite the fanfare, Mitty teachers expect Tuesday to be a "typical day in class with Polina," Rojo said.
"Once she comes back she is right back with the group," added Janet Fenker, Edmunds' biology teacher. "I'm amazed at how she switches gears."
The San Jose Olympian said education has been her main focus despite the hours spent at Sharks Ice honing her craft. Edmunds underscored that notion last week in Boston when contacting Fenker to find out what assignments she was missing. Without being told she had to have it done, the sophomore created a power-point presentation on how common prescription drugs work -- just like her classmates.
That doesn't surprise Rojo. In the fall, he told Edmunds she could make up a test he was giving just as the skater returned from an international competition.
"No, I'm ready to take it now," the teen said.
It's that kind of attitude that has led Edmunds to take on the world of figure skating.
After a whirlwind weekend, coach David Glynn planned to give his skater a break Tuesday to let her settle back into the routine. But he also knows her better than that.
"I wouldn't be surprised if Polina would want to go to the rink Tuesday afternoon to see her friends," he said.
Thanks to Edmunds, Bay Area coaches expect to get a bump in interest in local skating that should continue to grow next month in Sochi.
Although the region hasn't had a skater this good since San Jose's Rudy Galindo won the 1996 national title, the area has been on the rise for the past six years. The resurgence goes beyond Edmunds.
Karen Chen of Fremont was named to the junior World Championship team Sunday despite withdrawing from the free skate last week. Chen, 14, broke her ankle three months before the national championships, but also is expected to become a force on the senior level.
A handful of other local skaters won medals in lower-level divisions in Boston. But nothing motivates like the Olympics.
"In some areas, going to the Olympics is a far-fetched idea," said Jonathon O'Dougherty, a San Jose ice dance coach who competed for Britain. "Now there is one a little bit closer to home and more motivating for kids. Sharks Ice is now starting to come into its own."
Edmunds began skating at the facility at 20 months and has trained with her mom, Nina Edmunds, and Glynn since age 4. Their neighborhood rink happens to be the largest facility west of the Mississippi. Sharks Ice is one of only seven U.S. facilities that operates at least four NHL-sized ice rinks.
"People who appear to come out of nowhere, don't," O'Dougherty said. "Polina has certainly put in her 10,000 hours. It's great for the rink and great for skaters to see it is achievable."
Longtime Fremont coach Gilley Nickelson agreed with O'Dougherty.
"It wasn't something that happened accidentally," he said. "The training was right. The timing was right."
Nickelson, who coaches Chen, predicted a groundswell of talent to pour out of the Bay Area in the coming years. Part of the reason is a nucleus of coaches who are coming into their own.
Nickelson said the scoring system has leveled the field as far as training, allowing new coaches to establish themselves.
Could the Bay Area become a skating magnet?
"Everything is cyclical," longtime San Jose coach Tracy Prussack said. "Many things enter into it."
She was speaking of the costs for lessons and ice time, of staying injury free and having confidence in the coaching.
And then it takes a dam full of mental strength to withstand the pressure of the big stage.
Drama teacher Sharon Jones of Chaboya Middle School in San Jose was not surprised to see Edmunds pull it all together in Boston. Edmunds' eighth grade teacher recalled Monday how calm her protege acted during junior high stage productions.
Watching her on television last weekend, Jones thought, "That's Polina. That's my girl."
That's a homegrown Olympian.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.