Pentucket senior Kasey Mann is a big believer in silver linings.
After her path to the Sachems’ cross country program as this year’s No. 1 runner, it’s certainly easy to understand why.
A home-schooled student from Merrimac, Mann hadn’t been involved with Pentucket athletics in her first two years of high school. Then, two years ago, she suffered a ruptured appendix. Followed by further complications, she spent a month at Boston Children’s Hospital recovering.
“I had been sitting around and doing nothing and I wanted to get back in shape,” said Mann. “I started running two days a week in the summer at the River Rival runs.
“I had never liked running but a friend of mine from Triton said I should try cross country. I didn’t want to do it at first because I had a bad experience with team sports when I was younger, but I finally decided to give it a try.”
Mann didn’t have great expectations.
“I thought maybe I could be in the top seven ... I thought that would be good,” said Mann. “Then I finished second in the first meet. I finished second every meet (to Marissa Porter, now a freshman runner at Marist).”
By that first meet, Mann realized that her decision to get back in shape had taken her on an exhilarating path.
“I had grown to like running and I realized that running cross country could be more of a team sport,” she said. “I love the team aspect of it and I love the team.”
“That was tough being laid out in the hospital for so long. But now I look back at it as a good thing.”
If it’s been good for her, it’s been great for the Sachems. She pushed Porter throughout the season a year ago and is now Pentucket’s No. 1 runner.