Rising to the Top
On May 30th, 2015 John Mangold was running the third leg on the Metamora Boy’s 4×800 in the Illinois High School State Meet Finals. It was a close race between Metamora and Cahokia when Mangold, a senior at the time, got the baton pass on the third leg. His team had him in first place and he needed to make the lead a little bigger when on his second lap, he stepped on the rail next to the track and tore a ligament in his ankle. By that time Mangold was not too sure what college he was going to, and to top it off he did not know when he was going be healthy enough to run for the college he ended up choosing. By some luck of fate, Greenville University’s coach, Brian Patton, reached out and told Mangold that he wanted him to come to Greenville University. Mangold remembers, “Greenville made me feel like they wanted John Mangold the person, not John Mangold the runner.” This is ultimately what lead to his decision to run for the Greenville Men’s Cross Country Team.
In coming to Greenville, Mangold was barely two months off his injury without much summer practice to back him up in the coming season. Despite this, his mindset was to work hard so that he could catch up to everyone else. This line of logic ended up backfiring on him because he worked himself too hard and injured his Iliotibial Band, which is a ligament that goes from your pelvis to your shin. The injury made him miss the first two meets of the season and put him further out of shape. Even so, Mangold was able to finish the season strong and ended it by winning the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Newcomer of the Year Award. Mangold was the fastest freshman at the conference championship, but he was not listed as one of Greenville’s top seven runners, which meant he did not get to run at the Midwest Regional Meet. Mangold was not a huge fan of standing on the sidelines and watching his teammates run without him, so he decided to do something about it.
Sophomore year, Mangold came to Greenville in better shape. He did not have to deal with injuries during the summer, and because of this both the season and his future looked brighter. Mangold’s achievements also testified to a successful year. He had a top seven finish for Greenville in every race, and five out of seven races, Mangold also placed in Greenville’s top five. At the SLIAC championship, he finished second for Greenville and 7th overall. This win helped him receive first team all-conference, as only the top seven finishers are granted this award. If you were to ask Mangold to compare his sophomore year to his freshman year, he would tell you that it has been a much more positive experience, and his teammates would agree because he has improved the most out of the runners on GU Men’s Cross Country Team.
As Mangold goes into his junior year, his hopes are higher than ever. Out of the two races the University has held, Mangold has been their top finisher. In the dual meet against Washington University, the young runner finished 2nd overall against both Washington and Greenville athletes. In the Midwest Classic hosted by Olivet Nazarene, Mangold finished 10th overall and helped lead Greenville to finish in third place amongst the five teams. As the season continues, Mangold looks to keep hold of the top spot for Greenville. From his freshman year all the way up to his junior, Mangold has risen to the top of the Men’s Cross Country team.
Here’s an interview with John Mangold himself.