Girls track: Lowell’s Alli Manchester looking to make some noise in fourth and final state trip
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent May 30, 2012 11:18PM
Lowell's Allison Manchester clears the bar in the high jump during the girls track sectionals on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, in Lowell. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
state meet Outlook
What: 39th annual girls state meet
Where: Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex at Indiana University, Bloomington.
When: Friday, 2 p.m. — PV, LJ, DIS. 2:30 p.m. — HJ, SP. 3:15 p.m. — 3,200 Relay. 4 p.m. — Running trials. 5 p.m. — Opening ceremonies. 5:15 p.m. — Running finals.
LOCAL SCHOOLS, ATHLETES
BISHOP NOLL — Stephanie Rarick (HJ). CHESTERTON — Anna Raffin (400); Kristen Homme (1,600). CROWN POINT — Bailey Beckham, Katelin Krenzke (PV); Kayla McGurk (800). GRIFFITH — Taylor Austin (1,600). HANOVER CENTRAL — Kayla York (DIS). HOBART — Mindy Whidden (400). KANKAKEE VALLEY — Leanna Mulloy (sprints). LAKE CENTRAL — Shelby Carroll (3,200); Kaitlyn Moricz (LJ); Riley Wayco (HJ); Emily Thompson (SP); Brooke Lambert (PV). LAPORTE — Elena Lancioni, (3,200). LEW WALLACE — Arielle Borders (100, 200. LOWELL — Alli Manchester (HJ). MERRILLVILLE — Nakel McClinton (DIS, SP); Airrica Harper (100, 200); Jaleesa Holmes (hurdles). MUNSTER — Alex Meier (hurdles). PORTAGE — Jade McKnight (LJ); Katie Engle (PV). RENSSELAER CENTRAL — Chelsie Meeks (DIS). VALPARAISO — Katelyn DeVries (3,200); Kassidy Swenson (hurdles); Haley Whipps (PV). WEST SIDE — Kortney Mabone (hurdles). WHEELER — Kelly O’Shea (800).
3,200 — CHESTERTON — Kassidy Scott, Tori Schroeder, Rosie Biehl, Kristen Homme, Sam Giordano, Josie Tolin, Erin Socha, Kelly Arlow. CROWN POINT — Kayla McGurk, Meghan Gulvas, Carly Kiran, Lauren McCarroll, Alex St. Amour, Jenna Arnold. LAKE CENTRAL — Shelby Carroll, Abbey Peppin, Tatiana Lazic, Alaina Willis, Maritza Casteneda, Sarah Triveline, Amanda Onest, Megan Zajac. 400 — WEST SIDE — Ami Lampley, Vanesah Mabone, Ashley Stewart, Ivorie Stalling, Kortney Mabone, Keona Moore, Crystal Eldridge, Kayla Brister. MERRILLVILLE — Jazmyn Thomas, Airrica Harper, Anjelica Peppers, Jaleesa Holmes, Dariah Norwood, Shermika Winston, Taylar Worrell. LAKE CENTRAL — LeVisa Evans, Katie Brown, Andrea Alvarez, Kaitlyn Moricz, Holly Blair, Briana Johnson, Brooke Lambert, Parriss Bettis. 1,600 — CHESTERTON — Kristen Homme, Kassidy Scott, Kristin Mabry, Teresa Raffin, Tori Schroeder, Jordyn Kincy, Anna Raffin, Tia Peters. CROWN POINT — Whitney Mitchell, Michaela Prough, Meghan Gulvas, Bailey Beckham, Kayla McGurk, Mikayla Marcinkowski, Abi Small. KANKAKEE VALLEY — Kara Gouwens, Gabby Martin, Leanna Mulloy, Dayton Dellahan, Audra Lewis, Allison Rockley.
Updated: July 6, 2012 9:31AM
Lowell high jumper Alli Manchester already stands alone.
The senior is the first athlete in school history to qualify for state in any sport during all four years of competition.
At the 39th annual IHSAA Girls State Track and Field Meet on Friday night, Manchester will attempt to break the Red Devils’ school record of 5 feet, 7 inches, set by Melissa Buche (2006-2007) and Mikki Morrow (1987).
Good high jumpers are a tradition at Lowell — the program has produced the conference’s last nine high jump champs.
Red Devils head coach Scott Coil claims it’s a legacy his jumpers strive to live up to.
“I’m very proud about qualifying for state four straight years, that’s something not a lot of people have the opportunity to do,’’ said Manchester, who won her third regional title in four years by clearing 5 feet, 4.25 inches with the least scratches at last week’s Chesterton Regional.
Manchester, though, hasn’t been able to score or place at state in the past, but she’s counting on being able to turn her fortunes around in her final trip to IU.
“I’m just going to do my best,’’ she said. “It would be awesome to make top five, or win, but I’m not going to go into the meet with that in my head. I just want to go in, get past the opening height and clear 5-4. That’s realistic for me. I hope I can do better than that, but that’s the bare minimum I’d like to get. I’d be thrilled to break the school record. That would be the perfect night.’’
Coil believes Manchester is ready to succeed.
“I’d like her to go at least 5-6 and be on the podium when they give out the ribbons and awards,’’ he said.
Manchester’s only loss this spring was to Lake Central’s Riley Wayco at the Lowell Sectional.
“I think if Alli can jump her best, she could finish in the top five,’’ Coil said. “I think that’s definitely in the cards. It’s going to come down to the little things — the misses — that determines how high she actually places.’’
What makes Manchester so good?
“I spent five years in gymnastics and I think that has a lot to do with it,’’ she said. “The West Central girl (Marissa Hamilton) who also made it to state, and I, were talking at regional. Gymnastics helps you a lot. As gymnasts, we know how to bend our bodies and we’re flexible.’’
Another part of the equation — besides work ethic — is genes. Manchester’s father, Stu, was a high jumper and held the school record (since broken) at Culver Community High School.
“I guess you could say, it’s in my genes, but I definitely give gymnastics a lot of credit,’’ she said.
When Manchester jumps at state, it’s likely it will be for the very last time.
While she could have landed an athletic scholarship, Manchester won’t be competing at the next level. Instead, she’s earned a full scholarship to Butler Community College in Eldorado, Kan., to major in agricultural communications.
“We’ve been raising cattle since I was born,’’ she said. “When I was real young, my dad had some friends go out to Nebraska for him and bring back a group of bred, shorthorn heifers. He picked out four for me. My dad has raised cattle his whole life. I’ve been showing cattle since I was four.’’
Manchester spends anywhere from five to six hours a day caring for the animals. She shows one for a year, before it retires and she starts with a new one.
“It’s one of my favorite things to do,’’ she said. “It’s a lot of hard work, but for me, it’s like the only thing I know how to do, so the work doesn’t really bother me.’’
Despite her unique interest in raising cattle, Manchester has a 3.2 GPA.
She plans on judging livestock in college, while specializing in web site design for livestock people.
“In agricultural communications, you can do a lot of different things,’’ she said. “There’s journalism — beef and farm magazines. My goal is to have my own business — taking pictures and videos. For example, Labor Day is the main cattle sale weekend. Catalogs are sent out, via phone calls and the internet. I want to work in a business that organizes that type of stuff.’’