Boardman resident Michael Mannozzi has been named to the Team USA World Cup Team in race walking, and will compete at the World Race Walking Cup in Taicang, China, on May 4.
Mannozzi finished eighth overall at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Cup Trials in the 20k Masters Open Race Walking event, with a personal best time of 1:31:10. The trials were held March 30 in Manchester, N.J.
Race walking combines the endurance of the long distance runner with the attention to technique of a hurdler or shot putter. It is a sport in which the competitor is required to keep one foot on the ground at all times. Additionally, the supporting leg must straighten from the point of contact with the ground and remain straightened until the body passes directly over it. This combination results in a shorter stride length, which means the racers' pace must be quickened, reaching a step cadence comparable to an Olympic 800 meter (half mile) runner, but for hours at a time, due to the length of the race. Race walking became an Olympic sport in 1904.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Susan Randall, the third place finisher in the Team USA World Cup team and Boardman resident Michael Manozzi, who has qualified for the May 4 World Race Walking Cup in Taicang, Chine on Sunday (May 4) pose with their medals.
Mannozzi is the reigning U.S. National Champion in both the 30k and 40k race walking events, winning in September and October of 2013. Mannozzi also competed in the 2012 Olympic trials in both the 50k (31 miles) and 20k (12.4 miles) events, placing ninth and fifth overall, respectively. He is currently looking to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as well as the 2020 summer games in Tokyo.
A 2005 graduate of Boardman High School, Michael was a standout athlete in wrestling before attending and wrestling at Youngstown State University and at Notre Dame College in Cleveland. He currently works as a day camp counselor, while also filling in at the D.D. and Velma Davis YMCA in Boardman. Mannozzi is known as ''The Italian Stallion of USA Track and Field'' by many, including Olympic legends such as Dan O'Brien.
''I attribute a lot of my success to the help I get from Dr. Michael Lyons at Advanced Chiropractic and Rehab in Boardman. Race walking is very hard on the body and Dr. Lyons has been a great asset to my training, by helping me to reduce stress injuries, increase my flexibility, and speed up recovery," Mannozzi said.
Mannozzi also credits Mike Rohl, head men's track coach at Mansfield University, who was a four-time Olympic Trials competitor, and Bob Gray, a race walker from Eugene, Ore. Gray also is a marathoner and Olympic Trials athlete.
Those interested in sponsoring Mannozzi can reach him on Facebook or by email at email@example.com.