WOBURN — After a stellar indoor track season where she won the state title and finished third at the New England meet in the long jump, Woburn High senior Brooklyn Manna was eagerly anticipating competing in the National Meet, then moving on to achieve similar honors in outdoor track this spring.
But then during the second week in March leading up to the weekend of the indoor track National Meet, which was to be held in New York City, the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. This unprecedented event forced officials to cancel all high school and college sports events, including the National Meet.
Since the severity of the pandemic wasn’t known at that time, there was still hope that, Manna would still be able to compete in outdoor track during the spring season.
But the coronavirus pandemic got worse as time went by, initially compelling the MIAA to suspend the spring sports season to the first week in May. But by late April it became apparent the pandemic was not going to subside soon, so at that time the MIAA had no other choice than to cancel the spring sports season.
For Manna it was a tough pill to swallow, since she had done well enough in both the long and triple jumps in outdoor track last year to qualify for the National meet. So after doing so well in indoor track this past winter, Manna was very disappointed she wouldn’t get a chance to achieve even bigger things this spring.
“I’m really upset that I couldn’t compete, since I obviously feel I wasn’t given a chance to improve my performances in my last track season in high school,” said Manna. “I’m really bummed out about that. But right now I am just trying to keep my head up high, and hope for better things in the future for me in college.”
That future for Manna will be at Brown University, where she will compete in indoor and outdoor track.
But before then Manna was hoping to continue to excel in track for Woburn High, in the dual, invitational and the National meets.
“In dual meets this season I was going to compete in the long jump, the triple jump, and some short sprints,” said Manna. “Then in the state and New England meets I was going to compete in the long and triple jumps. Then at the Nationals I would have done the long jump, and maybe compete in the Pentathlon as well.”
Despite the big setback that deprived her the chance to win championships at the state and national levels, Manna has made the best of her time on her own. She was given advice on what workouts to do by new Woburn girls outdoor track coach Chris Keane, and her other track coaches there.
“(They) told me what at-home work-outs to do to stay in shape, while maintaining social distancing as well,” said Manna. “So what advice they told me is what I was doing for at-home work-outs through last week.”
Manna also recently received a plan on what she can do to stay in shape from coaches at Brown University. So already anticipating her move there for the next school year, Manna has started to follow their advice for staying in shape, and will continue to do so moving forward.
“I have also received some advice recently from who will be my college track coaches at Brown University on what work-outs to do to stay in shape,” said Manna. “So starting this week I have started workouts based on the advice those coaches have given me, and that’s what I will be doing from now on.”
Manna anticipates initially competing in the long jump, her top event, in indoor track at Brown University. Depending on how well she does in that event, she may start to compete in the triple jump in indoor track as well. Then she hopes to compete in both jumping events in outdoor track next spring.
Manna still isn’t sure whether she will be taking classes this fall right on site at Brown University or on-line.
“Brown University is still trying to make a decision right now on whether to have on-site classes or doing classes on-line,” said Manna. “So it’s still undecided right now, but they should have a decision on whether to do classes on-site or on-line by this summer.”
Manna realizes things won’t come as easy on the Division 1 college level the way it did in high school.
“I hope to do well enough in indoor and outdoor track at Brown University to qualify for the Nationals,” said Manna. “I know it will be more difficult there than it was in high school to achieve that goal since there will be tougher competition. But I will try my best in the events I compete in there to get to the Nationals.”
Manna isn’t sure yet what her major will be at Brown University, and as far as her distant future is concerned that will come in time.
“I’m still undecided on my major, and I’m not sure yet if I will coach track once my track career is over,” said Manna. “Right now I am still trying to figure out what my interests are. Yet I feel I will have a better idea on what interests I will pursue once I graduate from Brown University, including possibly coaching track.”