EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

February 9, 2013

Andover's Manning "Lord of the Rings"

Andover's Manning being recruited by top college programs

It didn’t matter that the meet was still more than 30 minutes from starting, and he was simply going through his warm-up routine for a few cameras. Brian Manning was going to nail his dismount following a near miss.

With players and coaches surrounding the rings, Manning launched himself into the air and stuck the landing after completing a “full twist, double back flip.”

Everyone in attendance went wild.

“I love the feeling when you stick a landing,” said Manning. “You have that adrenaline pumping, and then it dissipates and you have that amazing feeling of doing well. I feel like I can accomplish something I have never done before. I love getting up into the air and just twisting. I love performing for a crowd.”

Manning has wowed more than a few observers during his brilliant career at Andover High, winning All-Scholastic and Eagle-Tribune Gymnast of the Year last winter, along with his tremendous accomplishments away from school in the Junior Olympics, for which he trains an average of six hours a day, six days a week.

Now in the midst of the college decision process — being recruited by Penn State, the No. 1 ranked team in the country, and No. 5-ranked Ohio State — Manning is taking joy in finishing his Golden Warriors’ career with a bang,

“You wake up every morning in pain, but you push through it because you love the sport,” said Manning. “You want to have the feeling of trying something new and accomplishing it. I can’t wait to see what I can do in my future.”

Manning actually found the sport by accident, thanks to being a hyperactive child.

“I was always trying to do handstands and was a real daredevil around the house,” he said. “So my mom and dad sent me to the YMCA. But after a few months they said, ‘He really doesn’t belong here. The moves he is doing are too dangerous. He should really be doing gymnastics.’

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