Boykin off running to Lady Bearcats track
She may only stand about 5-foot-6, but Mandi Boykin is a bigger-than-life performer.
The Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers outstanding senior has been one of the best athletes to play in the Tri-State area and now she will take those talents to the college level after signing a national letter-of-intent with the University of Cincinnati to run track.
Boykin selected Cincinnati over Ohio State but also entertained offers from Miami, Ohio, and William and Mary.
“I just liked the atmosphere and I liked the way the people treated me and I liked the players and the coaches,” Boykin said. “It’s not too big of a school and it’s not that small. It’s a challenge for me. It’s going to be a lot harder.”
A blazing sprinter, Boykin has placed in the state meet 100-meter dash in each of her first three seasons for Ironton and is one of the favorites again this year. With a 12.1 seconds in the 100 meters as her best time, Boykin looms as one of the top sprinters for the Lady Bearcats when she steps on the campus.
“I’ll be in the mix. I’m probably one of the top five,” Boykin said. “I want to work on improving my time. I think I’ll be an asset to the program and to the Big East.”
Ironton girls head coach Tim Thomas said Boykin is one of the most gifted runners he has coached during his tenure.
“We’ve had some great sprinters like Anissa Campbell and Crystal Birchfield, but Mandi is probably the best all-around athlete we’ve ever had,” said Thomas.
Boykin’s success hasn’t been restricted to track. Considered the best all-around female athlete to play at Ironton, Boykin is the only player to ever start and earn four varsity letters in three sports.
In basketball, Boykin was a first team all-district selection as a junior and senior and shared the Associated Press Southeast District Division III Player of the Year honors this past season.
She scored more than 1,000 career points and helped Ironton to the state tournament in her sophomore season along with a regional runner-up last season.
Although she has signed to run track, Boykin said basketball may still be in her future.
“I might tryout as a walk-on,” Boykin said. “If I can work it in, I might try it if there is time since I’m going to major in pre-med.”
Currently second in her class, Boykin said Cincinnati’s pharmacy program was a key reason she picked the Lady Bearcats.
“I won’t have to leave Cincinnati to go to graduate school. I can stay there,” Boykin said.
Boykin was an all-district first team choice in volleyball the past two years and became the first Ironton volleyball player to earn All-Ohio honors from the coaches association.
Although she will be moving to a different level, Boykin said she will take a piece of Ironton with her.
“I’m from Ironton and I don’t want to disappoint anyone. I just want to try as hard as I can and represent Ironton well,” said Boykin.
Mandi is the daughter of Jamie Boykin of Ironton.