Manfra finishes first collegiate season in full sprint


Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

Freshman Emily Manfra  has entered the under -20 club in the 5K for Suffolk University’s women’s cross country program.

The biology major earned her third Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Corvias Rookie of the Week honor after placing second in a field of 167 runners at the Saints Invitational on Oct. 14. Manfra was named both runner and rookie of the week by the conference on Sept. 26 after her top-15 performance at the Codfish Bowl on Sept. 24. Followed by her first collegiate race at the University of New England (UNE) Invitational on Sept. 10, she was honored with her first GNAC Rookie of the Week honor for leading the Lady Rams to place in sixth overall of 14 competitors and finishing in eighth place of 135 runners herself.

The 18-year-old freshman credits her success of her first season of collegiate cross country to her competitors and teammate Emma Weisse.

“I’ve always been a competitive person; so when I started running cross country, I wanted to push myself,” said Manfra in an interview with The Suffolk Journal on Friday afternoon. “I always try to chase the girls in front of me, and then try to kick it in the end by sprinting the last bit.”

Manfra, who will finish the season on Saturday at the GNAC Championship, said she was really surprised and happy to learn of her honors.

“I went into the season, basically with no expectations, because I’ve never [done] cross country,” said Manfra. “I definitely didn’t think that could happen. I’ll say it’s going a lot better than I could have thought.”

Manfra gained an even greater love for running and the sport, because of the smaller team, her teammates and competition. She turned to cross country after she tore both of her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) playing soccer in high school.

“I think running to me was the best chance of not having injuries,” said Manfra. “I guess; it was a better option.” Although she does miss playing soccer, she plans to just stick cross country and track & field throughout her collegiate career.

Manfra, who also participated in track & field in high school, is looking forward to winter or spring track & field, when the new programs begin sometime next year. The four new programs added to the university’s varsity line up were announced on July 25, along with women’s golf and ice hockey.

“I’d love to keep running with the team and keep competing,” she said.