By Sheri Duff
Cassie Manning is passionate. Champlain Valley Union (CVU) head lacrosse coach Erin Malone explains, “Cassie is a solid defender and holds an important role on our team. On the field, she can be counted on for her intensity which increases as the game or practice progresses. On the team she is one of eight seniors and is looked to for her humor and insight. This season Cassie has been an important part of our defense and as we head into play-offs I hope she continues to lead the team.”
Born on March 1, 1995 and raised in Charlotte, Manning’s family includes mom and dad, Heather and Buddy, younger sister Moriah, a sophomore at Rice Memorial High School, a horse named Skipperdee, a dog named Faline, a cat named Benny, and some chicks.
An admitted youth soccer player, it wasn’t until the seventh grade that Manning decided to give lacrosse a try. “I kind of switched sports that year,” Manning commented. “Most of my friends were already playing lacrosse. But it was my friend Sydney and her mother, Beth Beldock, a lacrosse coach in the community that really sparked my interest in the sport.”
In fact it was that experience that led to her greatest achievement. “My proudest moment in regard to lacrosse was making Junior Varsity (JV) as a freshman,” Manning informed. “Especially since I had only played for two years before my first lacrosse tryout ever. I spent a lot of time practicing with Coach Beldock to make the team,” she added. “I worked very hard on fitness and stick skills on my own time. My friends had been playing for years so when I found out that I made JV with them I was so happy. My hard work really paid off.”
A two-year varsity lacrosse player, Manning and her teammates weren’t competitive on the D-I playing field until recently. They ended the regular season with two quality wins, and a loss, yet appear to have momentum on their side heading into playoffs.
In addition to lacrosse, Manning was an active participate in the Environmental Club and on the Nordic ski team at CVU. She also has two jobs and two obsessions. Employed by Sportstyle as a salesperson and at Herd and Heritage, a horse boarding barn in Charlotte, Manning “has always been around horses,” and is passionate about them. She still rides. She is also obsessive about the 52 Kids Foundation, a non-profit with a simple mission, teach Ugandan children to live positively without aid, and has made two trips to Kumali in support of the organization.
“I originally heard about 52 Kids when I was a sophomore at CVU,” Manning began. “But my parents asked me to wait a year. During that year I did lots or research and felt ready to be immersed in my new passion,” she explained. “Traveling to Uganda really brought out the true character that I knew I possessed but never was confident in relying on. Because I was the only American student on the trip I was forced to make better connections with the students I met. Helping the students and befriending them was so powerful I just had to return.”
She will also return to her first choice college, Hobart William Smith College, in the fall. “When I visited I knew it was the place for me. I just felt it,” she said. Her plans in place, Manning and her combination of talents will continue to be a dynamic force on and off the field.