Q&A with Track and Field Junior Crystal Manning

Feb. 21, 2007


Recently, junior Crystal Manning sat down with the media relations staff to discuss the upcoming Big 12 Indoor Championships. Currently, Manning ranks second in the Big 12 in the triple jump and seventh in the nation after she tied the Kansas school record with a jump of 43-02.25. Manning has lofty goals not only for this weekend, but far beyond, including the outdoor season and when her time with Kansas track and field comes to an end.

Q: What is your favorite event to compete in?
A: “I would have to say the triple jump because I feel like it is my money event and I really like it.”

Q: Who is your favorite Olympic track athlete?
A: “Jackie Joyner-Kersee is my favorite because I have always looked up to her since my freshman year.”

Q: What is a song that gets you pumped up and ready to compete?
A: “Heaven by Mary Mary. I’m a really religious person and just listening to gospel music before I compete, knowing that I am doing this through God and that He is the only reason why I’m here is what gets me ready for my events.”

When I compete I always quote a verse from the Bible: `I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me’ – Philippians 4:13. When I’m at the back of the runway I get so nervous and feel like I can’t drive out, but then that calms me. I do that and it’s like ‘okay, I know I can do this.’ Then before you know it, I’ve been getting PR’s and being successful.”

Q: What do you think of the new track uniforms this year?
A: “I think they are cute and they are more personalized. Last year we had the blue adidas uniforms which looked like everyone else’s uniform, except it just said “Kansas” on it. Now we have the KU on the buns and the back. It’s personalized, so that is why I like it a lot.”

Q: What is the main goal you want to accomplish this season?
A: “Hopefully making it to nationals and going to the USA Championships in June. I have a lot of goals, but that is my main goal, going to outdoor nationals and then the USA Championships.”

Q: At the Big 12 Championship meets this year, what is the women’s team shooting for?
A: “I don’t want to say a place, but I want to finish in the top three. We have so much confidence on the team this year. Based on what I am seeing while watching everyone practicing outside my event, they have confidence going to practices. I heard two people say, `I ran faster today in practice than I did in competition.’ So we have confidence going in to the Big 12 Championships. There is no doubt in my mind that we can get a top-three finish.”

Q: Do you consider yourself as a leader on this team?
A: “I don’t want to say I’m a leader because I wasn’t picked as a captain. On some levels, I feel like a captain because I know I give great advice to my teammates.”

Q: Who has made the biggest impact on yourself as a student-athlete?
A: “Former Kansas track and field great Brooklyn Hann had a huge impact on my training. The year that she helped coach, she helped me as far as being aggressive. She impacted me a lot, especially with the triple jump.”

Q: If you could switch places with a student-athlete in another sport other than track, who would it be and why?
A: “I would have to say freshman women’s basketball player Danielle McCray because she is my friend and I used to play basketball. I thought I was little (Allen) Iverson. She plays basketball and loves it to death, plus she ran track too. We have a lot in common. I would switch places with her.”

Q: What do you want to do after you graduate from Kansas?
A: “Only the Lord knows. All I can say is `Let go and let God.’ All I know is whatever I’m going to do, I just want to help people. This society is so messed up, especially the education system. I want to let children know that just because you have a strike against you already by living in the inner city, and have the worst textbooks in the world, keep your head up. There is always something out there for you.”