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Track and field: Two-sport stars Allen, Mangan rewriting West's record books
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West Forsyth juniors Grace Mangan, left, and Bryce Allen each own the school record in the 100m dash. Additionally, Mangan set another school record during softball season with 31 stolen bases, while Allen broke up a school-record 23 passes during football season. - photo by David Roberts

Bryce Allen didn't expect to be great at track when his mother convinced him to try out for the team as a freshman.

Fast forward two seasons and Allen now holds West Forsyth's record in the 100m after a running a 10.89 earlier this month at the Creekview Invitational. 

"To be honest, I didn't even know I would get it, because the dude in front of me was going so much faster," Allen said. "So I thought I was really slow."

Allen finished second behind Buford junior Ashlund Dixon's 10.60, which matches the state's fastest 100m time this season.

Still, Allen's mark broke Austin Reid's 7-year-old record by three hundredths of a second.

Grace Mangan, also a junior, set a pair of records as a freshman in 2019, breaking the school's mark in the girls 100m (12.06), as well as the 200m (25.62). 

What makes Allen's and Mangan's achievements truly spectacular is that they each already broke a record earlier this season during fall sports.

Allen is a key part of West's football team and set a single-season record this year with 23 pass breakups, which surpassed the previous total of 15, also set by Allen. 

He registered at least one pass breakup in all 13 games for West, including a season-high four deflections against Forsyth Central. 

"Everything just started to pick up once we got in the middle of the season," Allen said of the football season, which saw the Wolverines advance to the Class 7A Elite Eight. "We just kept winning and winning and winning. Then we got in the playoffs and it was like, 'Hey, we can really do this.' It just got better as the season went on."

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West Forsyth's Bryce Allen leaps up to make a catch against Peachtree Ridge on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. Photo by Jay Rooney.

Mangan, meanwhile, set a new single-season mark in the fall with 31 stolen bases, boosting her career mark to 59 — both school records.

Mangan, who hit .391 and carried an on-base percentage of .429 this past season, was also named Region 5-7A Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore.

She said honing her reaction time and acceleration in track has carried over onto the softball field.

"A hundred percent, yeah, especially with your fast-twitch," Mangan said. "I play outfield, so whenever there's a ball hit, that quick reflex that you have. Then definitely on the bases, you see it come in, especially stealing."

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West Forsyth's Grace Mangan runs in the 200-meter dash during the Region 5-7A track and field championships on April 25, 2019 at West Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer

Allen actually notched another school record with West's 4x400m relay team at the Creekview Invitational, combining with TJ Jennings, Isaac Osifo and Brandon Nyandoro to run a 3:22.53 and surpass a 10-year-old record.

Additionally, Trent Bell, Tyler Doty, Paul Griffin and Joey Vos set a new mark with an 8:19.66 in the 4x800m at the Sawnee Invitational.

"Just making it to state is a goal for me," Allen said. "I didn't really think I'd be this good at track, to be honest, when I first started. Just competing at a high level, that'd be really good for me."

Mangan hopes to reach the state meet too, and is working to get her 100m dash time under 12 seconds. Her time of 12.06 would have landed her a third-place finish at the 2019 Class 7A state meet.

"Breaking 12 would be the top one that I have," Mangan said. "I'm working on getting that down, I just have to keep working my time down and stay in shape. Hopefully I'll get it by the end of the season."