EAST LANSING – Taylor Manson got a taste of success early in her prep track and field career.
As a freshman at Waverly High School, Manson was a member of the Warriors’ 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams that were victorious at the Division 2 state meet. Since then, Manson, who just finished her junior year at East Lansing, has been on a quest to get back to the top, and she nearly did so with three top-five performances at this year’s Division 1 meet.
Manson placed second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.56, which topped the previous Division 1 record and was just short of the state record, fifth in the 200-meter dash, and her 800 relay team finished third.
The junior has been named the State Journal’s girls track athlete of the year.
“It (my freshman year) was a motivation because I was used to winning,” she said. “And then coming to a different division against different competition, I was more determined this year.
“I didn’t get first, but I was happy with my results because my times dropped dramatically.”
Manson was confident she would be able to compete for multiple state titles after strong outings leading up to the state meet. She won the 200 and 400 events at the regional meet, and her 800 relay team was also crowned champion. A few days before states, Manson was part of three record-setting performances at the annual Greater Lansing Honor Roll meet. She ran the 200 in 24.48 seconds, the 400 in 53.98 seconds and anchored the 800 relay team that posted a time of 1:40.76.
“My times before, they were good, but I didn’t think I would drop into the 53s during the school season,” Manson said. “I was very excited about that.”
As a team, East Lansing finished third at the regional meet and tied for second in the CAAC Blue this season.
“We were confident in ourselves,” she added. “We did good this year. Last year, we messed up at the state meet; some exchanges were off. This year, we did really well. We were all really happy with our results.”
Manson is not only seeking another state title, but she has her eye on the state record in the 400. Northville senior Chloe Abbott, who edged out Manson at the state meet, set the new record with a time of 53.10.
“I feel like I can get the record because I was so close to it this year,” she said. “Next year, I feel like I can easily get first and break the record.”
Contact James L. Edwards III at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.