Instead of spending time like most other high schoolers who might just lay around and waste time, she heads to the gym and works on her skills with the ball.
Although she is of a young age (17), Mann is every bit as talented and hardworking as someone who’s been playing their whole life. After just six years of playing recreationally and five years of playing competitively, Mann has already managed to rack up two varsity letters and is well on her way to a third.
Though Mann has played all the positions on the volleyball court, she has predominantly been a middle blocker. Mann’s hard work and dedication come from her having an absolute love of the game and her position. “If there's one word to describe middle it’s hectic, but I love it,” said Mann.
Being a middle can be extremely nerve-racking, especially if a player is claustrophobic like Mann is. Needing to have her head on a swivel and constantly knowing what is going on around her, is enough to freak just about anyone out. Players who occupy the middle blocker position in volleyball are well known for their strength and stability. They are used to blocking hitters and slowing the ball down just enough so that the back row players can get to the ball on time.
Mann is extremely talented and hardworking and her new coach Caitlin Steele agrees. “She wants to play, and she wants to work, and that’s what makes her valuable,” says Steele. It is hard to find people who just have a natural work ethic built into them and Mann has just that. However, just because someone is an amazing worker doesn’t always mean they’ll be the best captain, or that they’ll even get along with their teammates. Luckily, Coach Steele doesn’t have to worry about that. “She’s extremely talented and I think she’ll make a great captain,” says Steele. Mann also states that one of her favorite parts of the season is bonding with her teammates. “ I enjoy getting to be close with my team and this year I really got to experience that.”
As next season approaches, some people are worried that there might not even be a Griswold High School Volleyball program due to lack of interest and the fact that the team will be losing so many girls next year. But Coach Steele and Mann aren’t worried. “You can’t control what’s bound to happen, you just have to leave it be and hope for the best,” said Steele.
Mann also sees some great potential in the girls that are coming up next year. “They’re athletic and within no time they’ll be up to speed with everything that goes into the sport,” says Mann about future volleyball players Sydnee Moore and MayaBella Texidor. “They’ve got quick reaction time and would make for great back row players due to (their experience in) basketball.”
Mann and the rest of the team are hopeful in knowing that more girls are showing interest in the program will, hopefully, spark some life into others and return the team to its former glory.