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Mann a shining star Down Under

Kyle Mann was chosen to represent New Hampshire in the Down Under Track and Field Meet in Australia. He won the silver medal in the 800-meter dash. Courtesy Photo. (click for larger version)
July 31, 2017
TILTON — Kyle Mann, a Winnisquam Regional High School junior track star, showed that his athletic ability spans far beyond the Lakes Region by winning the silver medal at the Down Under Track and Field Meet in Australia, a competition where he faced top high school runners from around the globe.

While the competition was fierce, Mann stepped up and beat out roughly 70 other runners from around the world in the 800 meters, and nearly took the gold medal. Mann said he was second in his first heat in the pre-qualifying race on the first day, and then in the finals he barely took second after coming back from being behind.

"I was in fourth for a bit and in the last 200 meters I really sprinted hard and barely took second," said Mann. "I'm very happy."

Mann traveled to Australia with his family and said it was an experience of a lifetime that he will never forget. He was amazed at how nice the locals were and said they were very welcoming. He also said it was interesting that many of them didn't even know where his home state of New Hampshire was. If the opportunity arises, Mann said he would go back in a second.

Mann was selected to represent the state of New Hampshire on the East Conference Track and Field Team in the 17th annual Down Under Track and Field Meet. Mann left on July 2 and was in Australia for a week at Griffith University. He was one of only two selected from New Hampshire.

His selection and invitation was based on his volunteer actions in the community, high school achievements and athletics, according to a Gofundme page he set up in November to prepare for the trip. Mann wanted to personally thank all who have supported him and allowed him to get to the Down Under.

Mann explained that recruiters contacted him to be a part of the team after seeing him compete. Mann was excited to represent his school and community in a global setting.

Mann ran the 800 meters, 1,500 meters and 4X100 and 4X400 relay races. He said his goal was to get in the low two minutes for the 800 meters and to place in the top 10 for any events. He ended up with a time of 2:05 in the 800 meters.

His mother called him a "humble young man" who is a high honor student and an excellent athlete.

Humble he is, as Mann said he was very surprised that he was chosen for the team.

"I was really excited," Mann said prior to the event. "At first I wasn't sure, but I found out it was legitimate. So I am super excited and can't wait to go."

This was the first time Mann went to Australia, and he said he not only looked forward to racing but also to seeing koala bears and kangaroos. Julie Mann said Kyle was able to hold a koala bear, something that she said was one of the most memorable parts of their three-week trip to Australia.

Julie Mann said it was amazing how Australia was, calling it a "beautiful place" and that she would go back in a heartbeat. They were along the coast and got to do whale watching, seeing whales coming from Antarctica.

"It was simply amazing," she said.

The preparation for the event was rigorous. Mann was working hard, running every day and pushing himself as hard as possible. He said he had been running long distance and also sprinting.

"I've been running so much," said Mann prior to the event. "Just trying to keep in shape."

Going into the event, Mann had a mixture of excitement and nerves. He said it was a strange feeling not knowing exactly what he is going into and how he will stack up against some of the athletes around the globe, but he is confident he will do well.

"I think most of these kids will be really good, but I'm excited to go out there and compete," said Mann.

Compete he did, and now Mann looks forward to his junior year at Winnisquam Regional High School where he hopes to continue setting personal records and run his heart out for the Bears.

"We are very proud of him," said Mann's mother, Julie. "He did very well."

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