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2021 ALL-COUNTY GIRLS RUNNER OF THE YEAR: Grace Mangan, West Forsyth
Grace Mangan

Grace Mangan first realized how fast she was after winning the track state championship her eighth-grade year. 

“I didn’t really realize the potential and talent I truly had up until that point,” Mangan said. “It was all so new and I was excited to get a fresh start on a different sport.”

She knew she was fast; she had been stealing bases in competitive softball for years. At the end of her junior year, she already owned West’s single-season stolen base record [31] and the career stolen base record [59]. 

On the track, Mangan did her fair share of record-breaking as well. She holds the girls school record for 100m [12.06] and the 200m [25.52], breaking her own 200m record at the state preliminary round. Mangan helped West win the Region 6-7A championship, winning the region title in the 100m, 200m and the 4x200m relay team. 

“It was really such an amazing feeling,” Mangan said. “This team really overcame some tough adversities and pushed through the pain and injuries in order to lock in the meet. I was so proud of each and every person in the team. I feel like the season went great, especially with the loss of a season last year. Our team, both guys and girls, worked extremely hard this year.”

Mangan said she credits her mother for pushing her to become the best athlete possible.  

“I feel extremely blessed and grateful to have so many people around me that support me and give me love through everything,” Mangan said. “I definitely could not have done without every single last person.”

Though her dominance in Forsyth County has lasted for a few years, Mangan said she still gets nervous before her matches and has to remind herself that it is just a race. 

“Sometimes before races and games I’ll get a little nervous, and being fun and goofy with my teammates is a great way to keep my mind off of that nervousness,” Mangan said. “But when there are times to be serious, I am serious.”

With great success comes great responsibility, and Mangan knows that. However, she likes to lead by example more than by her words. 

“I am not much of a louder speaker, so I feel that what I do on the track and the field really highlight the leader role I endure on my teams,” Mangan said. “I would tell the young runners to always give 100% into everything you are doing whether it is on the track, at school or at home.”

As Mangan gets ready for her senior season of softball this fall, she still has goals she is eager to set on the track, wanting to run a sub 12-second 100-meter dash and to keep the Wolverines region champions. 

“The team this last year went deep in just about every category on the track,” Mangan said. “From distance, the sprints, pretty much all the field events on both the guys and girls side. When a team generally has a diverse set of athletes, the bar is set astronomically high for their success and achievements. I think it’s going to be a very young and successful team.”