Manel Soltani is a Malden High senior on the cross country team. Soltani has been on the team since freshman year, making this year her fourth season on the team. cross country was not an option for her at first, because she wanted to do cheerleading, however, she joined because she wanted an athletic base, and her sister also participates in cross country. Soltani believes it was fate that brought her to Pine Banks, because “it was the best decision in [her] emote high school career.” Soltani stayed, and continued to be a member of the cross country team, because she found an awesome environment. She found a place that pushed her to work harder than she ever worked before. Cross country and indoor track was “amazing” and her love of running began there.

Soltani’s goals for Cross Country is to bring a team to the Division I state meet on November 12th. Soltani aims for the team to win the GBL title one last time before they join a new league, so they can be undefeated for 6 years in a row. Another goal is to run a personal record to end her senior year of cross country.

Soltani says her most exciting moment would have to be attending invitationals and the state meet. She loves how all of the team’s hard work and efforts come together when they see how much they’ve improved at the end of each season. She loves the vibe and the environment of the meets. “It’s super difficult to describe, because there’s nothing like it, and [she hates] to say this because it’s so cheesy but you really have to be there,” says Soltani.

Her goals academic wise are “very plain,” in her opinion. Soltani aims to get into her top colleges. The cross country team prides itself on having one of the most highest cumulative GPAs of any MHS sports teams, and she excels when she’s around people who truly value their education. She wishes to run after high school, however, she does not know whether or not she’ll be partaking in a college level of running. If not, she plans to join a less competitive team/club. “Running is definitely something [she] will be doing after high school is over,” she says.

Soltani has a plethora of reasons why she loves cross country. It teaches her countless values, such as hard work, sportsmanship, love, empathy, how to be better person, etc. Her coach, David Londino, has said time and time again that running will show your true colors, and that what you do running will be indicative of the person you choose to be in life. If you quit running, you quit at something in life. She holds herself accountable and strives to be the best version of herself in life. She also loves the team. She thinks the success of a team is very much dependent on the relationships built in it. “[She] can easily say [she loves] and [cares] about every person on the team. They want nothing but the best for [her]. [Her] best friends are on the team,” she says. Soltani says that the team has seen her grow and shaped who she is today. Her favorite quote that she loves a lot and recites to herself and her team on game day is “teamwork makes the dream work.”

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