Mangum Puts Together An Impressive Freshman Campaign

By Marc Meyers, Sports Information Intern


Freshmen athletes often have trouble with the transition between high school and college athletics. This has not been the case for Rhode Island College thrower Rolanda Mangum.

In her first season of indoor track, Mangum has excelled in the weight throw competition, taking first place at the Little East/MASCAC Alliance Championships with a distance of 44í4" and finished in fourth place at the New England Div. III Championships with a season-high distance of 48í7.25". She is also a provisional qualifier for the NCAA Championships in that event. Mangum has also fared well in the shot, placing fourth at the Little East/Alliance Championships with a mark of 34í4.25".

With a little coaxing from her high school coach, Mangum got into throwing. "Freshman year, I was doing basketball at first and then the coach of the track team said I looked like I could do the hammer throw," says Mangum, "After awhile, I just got into it."

During her career at Providenceís Hope High School, Mangum had success in four throwing events. She earned All-Division honors in the weight throw, hammer, shot and discus. She was also named All-State in the shot and qualified for the national championships in both the shot and weight throw.

Mangum considers the weight throw to be her favorite event because of her early success with it. "I like the weight throw. I started with the hammer in my freshman year, but the first year I did weight throw I made nationals," Mangum states with a smile.

The transition from high school to college was easy for Mangum because of a good track team and a knowledgeable coaching staff. "I like the people on the track team. (Throwing Coach Liz Legault) is teaching me a lot of stuff. I have learned a lot from her."

According to Mangum, the secret to her success in the throwing circle relies on her mentality at the meet. "At ECACs, Iím just going to go into it like itís practice. Coach talks to us before we throw just like its practice." Mangum says.

With the indoor season coming to a close, Mangum will begin to look towards the outdoor season, which begins on Mar. 30 at the Northeastern Invitational. "I donít really see any differences between indoor and outdoor. I hope I do better. I like outdoor just because thereís more events for me to compete in, so it keeps me into it the whole time." Mangum states. During the indoor season, the only events for throwers are weight throw and the shot. The outdoor season adds the discus and hammer to go along with the shot and weight throw.

Mangum hasnít let her early successes go to her head. "For myself, I hope that every year I throw and that Liz teaches me more stuff," Mangum says, "For the team, Iíd like to see more girls come out."

The RIC menís and womenís indoor track teams compete at the ECAC Division III Championships on March 2 at Tufts University.


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