Maneisotis goes with Gators for college pick

HHH star to run on track, cross coutnry teams

ccox@islandpacket.comDecember 19, 2012 

Hilton Head Island High's Jack Manesiotis runs during the 2011 Class 3-A cross country state championships at Sandhills Research Center in Columbia. Manesiotis plans to run in college at Florida.

FILE PHOTO

For the better part of two weeks, Jack Manesiotis spent his time buried in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

"Side-by-side, what I like about this, what I don't like about this," he recalled. "I just had to go through every aspect. It was nail-biting. What do I want to do? What's good, what's bad, what's the same?"

On one side was the University of Florida. On the other was the Gators' state rival, Florida State. One of the two schools was going to win the services of the cross country standout for the next several years.

"I was putting a lot of factors together," he said, " ... pros and cons, things of that nature."

A visit to Florida in mid-October to see the Gators' football team whip South Carolina 44-11 ultimately helped UF win out. It was there that he saw the camaraderie the runners had with cross country and track and field coach Mike Holloway.

The decision was made. The Hilton Head Island High standout would join the Gators over both the Seminoles and Alabama Crimson Tide.

"When I went down there, I just saw the relationship on the team with both the guys and the girls with the coaches and how well they got along together," Manesiotis said. "The guys are just awesome. It just fit for me."

Manesiotis will run country cross in the fall, indoor track in the winter and track in the spring. He will join a men's outdoor track team that captured the NCAA national championship this year and an indoor team that has won three straight national titles.

"The weightlifting coach, (Matt DeLancey), ... he's coached 46 Olympians just through the University of Florida," Manesiotis said. "It's just wild to hear all the Olympians he's coached. They just have a lot to show. They have the national title rings, SEC rings, it's just crazy."

Manesiotis, who was last year's Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette cross country athlete of the year, will sign with the Gators on Feb. 6. He finished his cross country career with an individual and team championship in 2011 before capping his time with the Seahawks with a runner-up finish this season.

He becomes the second Manesiotis to recently take their talents to the next level. His sister, Sara Manesiotis, a former Hilton Head High standout, runs cross country for Clemson.

"It's awesome," Jack Manesiotis said. "It's definitely nice to have another sibling that can relate to the same kind of stuff that I can. We go through a lot of stuff together, like training and stuff like that."

The younger Manesiotis will finish his career with the Seahawks' track team this spring, where he will attempt to win a second straight state title in the 4x800 meter relay. He also finished second in both the 1,600 and 3,200 at last year's state meet.

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