While Tricia Mangan ended up reaching the Winter Olympics as a last-minute replacement due to an injury to Jackie Wiles, the fact that the Derby resident earned Olympian status wasn't a surprise to Rebecca Reeder.
Reeder is senior vice president for academics at Nardin Academy. The longtime educator got to know Mangan during her time at the school.
Mangan, a 2015 Nardin grad who is currently enrolled at Dartmouth, is slated to make her Olympics debut in the giant slalom on Feb. 14 (Buffalo time) at Yongpyong Alpine Center in South Korea.
"Tricia sets goals and goes after them," Reeder said. "She doesn't give up. It takes that drive and resilience to achieve such an accomplishment.
"It is exciting for me to observe one of our alums reach this level and know that so many people at Nardin had an impact in Tricia’s life, cared for her as a student and a person and now we support her in our thoughts, prayers and cheers. What a terrific feeling."
Reeder recalls Mangan as being an outstanding student and independent worker, who's highly motivated.
"(She) learns for the love of learning and keeps a balanced life," Reeder said. "She always amazed up with her ability to get work done, and done well, and do all the training and travel as she pursued her dream."
Reeder said Mangan was a mature young woman, well-liked by students and faculty with many friends.
Reeder said Mangan reaching the Olympics is a big deal for Nardin.
"As a school, Tricia’s accomplishment has infused pride, excitement and heightened interest in the games," Reeder said. "We are a small school and how often do schools like ours have this happen?"
Mangan's family, including her parents and five siblings, left Buffalo on Friday morning and arrived in South Korea to watch her compete.
"We are so incredibly excited to share the Olympic experience with Tricia," her mother, Martha, wrote in an email update to what the family calls Team Mangan. "We have talked to Tricia only a few times, but every time we do speak, she says the entire experience is absolutely amazing."
"Thank you so much to all of you who have been so supportive these past few days, weeks and year and we look forward to sharing this celebration with all of you."