Floyd Central senior Kassidy Manning led the Highlanders’ charge to a fourth-straight Hoosier Hills Conference girls’ cross country championship. She was the individual winner as Floyd Central slipped past Seymour by one point for the team title.
As you were dueling down the stretch with Seymour’s Ashton Chase, did you have any idea the team race would be that close?
I just knew that the girl was next to me and I really wanted to beat her. I had no idea, at the time, where my teammates were. It turned out great for all of us. It was pretty cool.
Floyd Central has a great tradition in cross country, with four straight state championships from 1989-92. Does that motivate you to succeed?
It’s something we want to uphold. It’s something to strive for. It definitely motivated me. We hope our program can be built back up to that point again.
What do you love about running?
Before I ran, I was a swimmer for a long time. That really prepared me for running. I love the competitiveness of it. I love racing against myself and watching myself get better.
As a senior, how important was your leadership on a young team?
I think a leader is someone to look up to and someone who has a positive outlook on things. Almost all of the girls on our team are good leaders, whether it’s leading the team through workouts or cheering from the sideline. Being a senior, I felt the responsibility to be a leader.
With the state tournament series set to start with the sectional on Saturday, what are your goals for the postseason?
We think we can make it to the state, and we’d like to place in the state meet. We want to go out there and give it our all, to know we couldn’t do any better.
What has pointed you toward a possible career in exercise science?
I took a class last year in sports science, and that was really interesting. It looked into what goes through a runner’s mind. I want to be able to help others to become the best athletes they can be become.
What does go through a runner’s mind?
There’s definitely a lot to think about. It’s playing with the numbers in my head. I’m trying not to think about how much longer I have to go. I just think to myself, “one more mile, one more mile.”
What have you learned from participating in high school sports?
I’ve learned I can always push myself harder than I think I can. I’ve learned what it means to be on a team and be a teammate, to be a leader.
Who are the people that have influenced you?
My parents and grandparents have supported me through everything. They’re always cheering for me and helping me become a better person, not just in running but in life in general. That is very important. Without their positive aspect to help me push through, I don’t know if I could do it.
KASSIDY MANNING UP CLOSE
School: Floyd Central
Family: Parents John and Regina; brother Jacob (15)
Student/athlete: Kassidy also runs track. She is a member of the National Honor Society. She plans to major in nutrition or exercise science in college.
Coach Carl Hook: “Kassidy is an extremely tough girl. She always runs harder than her calculated paces and does extra cross-training work. She is very dedicated to her diet plan and understands what it takes to be her very best. She isn’t afraid to push herself past her limits.”