MARIETTA — Over the last few years, the Marietta Lady Indians cross country team has made itself known as a force to be reckoned with in Class 3A.

MARIETTA — Over the last few years, the Marietta Lady Indians cross country team has made itself known as a force to be reckoned with in Class 3A.

One name which has always been at the front of the discussion, and the pack, has been Lady Indians member Mandy Sykora. 

This season, Sykora added to her already stelar resume with an individual state championship, to go along with her numerous cross country and track state titles.

She was also apart of a Lady Indians squad which finished third overall, making it the fifth straight year the Lady Indians have finished in the top-three at the state meet.

“Mandy has a passion for this sport which is second to none,” Marietta coach Matt Appleman said. “She’s a great example of a good kid doing things the right way. It makes me very happy to see her be so successful.”

Now Sykora can add one more title to her collection, the 2017 All-Ardmoreite Girls Cross Country Female Runner of the Year.

“It means a lot to me,” Sykora said about the award. “It just shows my hard work is paying off. Now I just need to make sure I keep working hard and hopefully I can earn some more accomplishments later this year.”

“I never thought I’d have gotten to where I am today in cross country,” Sykora added. “Considering I started in fourth grade, that’s just crazy to think about. This just grew into something I knew I could hopefully be really good at and I’ve worked my way to where I am.”

While she can excel at distance runner like few others, believe it or not, Sykora does have a weakness when it comes to running in general.

“I’m not so good at sprinting,” Syokra jokingly said. “Just going out on runs is what I love to do. When someone asks me what my hobby is I say running and they probably think I’m crazy. Distance running is where it’s at for me.”

Throughout the entire season, Sykora and the Lady Indians were always near the top of the leaderboard in the team standings.

With Sykora leading the way in almost every race, it’s no secret why Marietta was a force to contend with at every competition they were entered into.

Speaking of competition, that’s something Sykora said she thrives on when she’s at the starting line, especially when she knows they are going to challenge her.

“I like running with more competition to be honest,” she said. “It gives me a chance to run faster and better my personal best times. I hope this program continues to be successful these next few years and even when I graduate I want them to be even more successful.”