NEWTOWN – When July turns to August, recent high school grads headed to college start packing their bags. Newtown’s own Julianne Mangano is headed to Ithaca, where she’ll play field hockey at Cornell.
A four-time Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference honoree, Mangano had expressed interest in attending either Penn or Lafayette but when Ivy League rival Cornell came calling last March, she decided to go with the Big Red.
“Cornell was the first school that offered and I knew right away I wanted to go there,” said Mangano.
With an older sister – Lauren, Class of 2011 – who went to Cornell, Mangano had a previous attachment to the school.
“I’ve been visiting the campus since second grade,” said Mangano. “For me, I always pictured that as the college I would go to.”
A quick glance at her stats – 46 points including 32 assists, as a junior – and it looks like the Big Red is getting a pretty solid midfielder in Mangano, a four-year starter for the Lady Indians who garnered First Team All-State honors as a senior captain in 2016.
Equally, Mangano is pretty stoked about her college choice.
“I really love the people and the coaches; the players were really nice,” said Julianne.
“They’re really accommodating for balancing your schoolwork and the sport, whereas a lot of other schools aren’t.”
Looking back, Managano says her best season at the Rock was 2014, her sophomore season and the year the Indians went to states.
“That was probably one of the best years we ever had,” she said. “We had a really good team that year. We were all really good friends and you always knew where someone was going to be.”
CR North posted District 1 Tournament wins over Radnor, West Chester East and Perkiomen Valley before falling to CB South in the semifinals. The Indians finished that year in fourth place in the district, earning a spot in states.
The following season, North opened districts with a win over Spring-Ford before running into Unionville, which won a lopsided game before going on to claim the D1 Class AAA crown.
Last year, the Indians lost to SOL National Conference champ Neshaminy 2-1 in overtime in the opening round of districts
“During the season, we lost to them pretty badly in both games and we didn’t play well,” admitted Mangano. “The fact that we went to overtime with them in the last game was a big accomplishment even though we didn’t win
Julianne says the time she spent with the Rock North program under long-time coach Heather Whalen taught her plenty.
“I think this program has forced me to step into a leadership position and take control of things and lead by example. I really learned my place and how to work well with others.
“I learned that you can’t just trust that everything’s going to work out,” “You have to work hard and you can’t just put all your trust and weight on one person.”
“Everyone has to step up.”
“As a team we learned that you can’t just wait for someone to do something. You have to take the initiative yourself.”
Cornell seems excited to get a player of Mangano’s stature.
“Jules has an incredible work ethic and focus,” said Long-time head coach Donna Hornibrook. “She has impressed me with her commitment throughout the recruiting process and her continued growth as a player.
“We are anticipating that she will continue to grow and will become an integral part of our program.”
Last season, Big Red went 10-7 overall, 4-3 in the Ivy League, tying the University of Pennsylvania for third place in the conference.
With eight returning starters and only four departures (3 starters), Cornell will look to improve upon that mark. With Mangano on the field, Big Red probably will.
Mangano is joined by five others that make up a talented freshman class at Cornell.
One is midfielder Taylor Gladd, a Garden City (N.Y.) grad who earned NFHCA Regional All-American honors in 2016.
As a high school senior, Gladd was named Nassau County Player of the Year after leading the county in points, goals and assists. During her time at Garden City, the team went 67-7
Gladd earned All-New York State and All-Long Island honors as a junior and senior and was a two-time Junior Olympic selection on a team that won a bronze medal in 2015.
Another midfielder joining Big Red is Grace Royer, a recent Parkland grad who garnered first-team all-state honors in addition to being named a first-team East Penn Conference all-star.
Additionally, Royer was chosen to participate in the U19 National Futures Championship in 2016.
Then there’s Juliana Tardif, a forward/midfielder out of Freeport, Maine who arrives in Ithaca after a stint with the Maine Elite Field Hockey club. Tardif earned a combined five varsity letters in field hockey at The Kent School and North Yarmouth Academy. As a sophomore at North Yarmouth, Tardif helped the team to a Western Maine Conference championship and a state runner-up finish in 2013
Defensemen McKenna Lee and Alison Munford round out the freshman class. Lee helped her high school team Severna Park win three consecutive Maryland Class 4A State Championships (2013, 2014, 2015) and a share of the county championship in 2016.
Munford comes to Big Red all the way from Vancouver, British Columbia (B.C.). Alison helped her high school team Crofton House School win a pair of Class AA B.C. Provincial championships in 2014 and, 2016.
Munford comes to Ithaca after a recent stint with the B.C. Provincial field hockey team.
Cornell opens the season versus Ohio University Sept. 1 at Dodson Field in Ithaca. Big Red begins Ivy League play in a noon matchup with Penn Saturday, Sept . 23 at Ellen Vagelos Field in Philadelphia.
TOP PHOTO: Recent Council Rock North grad Julianne Mangano, seen here (center) with her parents, is headed to Cornell University where she will join the Big Red women’s field hockey team.