Senior spotlight: Seton LaSalle volleyball’s Manion brings a lot to the table

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Thursday, April 2, 2020 | 6:01 AM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight a WPIAL spring athlete whose senior year has been put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic.

Luke Manion made a name for himself on the Seton LaSalle volleyball team the past three seasons, earning all-WPIAL and all-state honors as a setter for the WPIAL Class AA runners-up last year.

He really got famous last month, though, for his woodworking skills as he looked to kill some time while cooped up at home.

“I got so bored that my mom gave me her credit card and I went to Lowe’s and I bought wood,” Manion said. “I made a table because I was so bored.”

Manion’s proud mother posted a picture of the table on her Facebook page. Seton LaSalle’s president saw the picture and featured it on the school’s social media accounts.

“Next thing I know, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, the newsletter home from the principal,” Manion said. “They’re like, ‘Luke made this desk at home for online learning. Look how great it looks.’ My picture’s everywhere.”

The project was out of character for Manion. He’s never taken a shop class or shown any interest in handicrafts.

“It’s a real odd activity,” Manion said. “I just saw an ad and I thought, ‘I can make a table.’

“It’s level and it’s pretty solid. The legs are maybe a little uneven, but it’s on carpet. It doesn’t shake at all.”

What’s your best memory playing volleyball at Seton LaSalle?

Last year in the semifinals against OLSH when we won. It was just that feeling of great accomplishment. We were going to make it. All our hard work paid off. All the open gyms, the practices, all the work we put in to making it to the championship paid off. We had one more game to finish (in the finals against Ambridge) and obviously it didn’t end up the way we hoped it would, but the feeling of knowing we were going to the championship game was an awesome feeling after coming up short my freshman and sophomore year.

What’s your best memory as a sports fan?

I’ve always been an Ohio State fan. Ironically, I’m going to college at Penn State next year, but I grew up an Ohio State fan. Watching them win a national championship in the first college football playoff, watching them beat Alabama in the semifinals and then playing Oregon when they had Marcus Mariota and watching them beat that team with a third-string quarterback and overcoming all the odds as a fourth seed, it was an awesome run and probably one of the coolest moments I can remember as a sports fan.

You better not tell anybody that in State College.

I know. I have to keep it a secret.

Who would you say is your biggest rival?

I’d say, overall, for every sport, it’s Keystone Oaks, just because they’re so close. They’re across the street. It’s always a big matchup when we play them in any sport. For volleyball, I’d say probably Ambridge just because of last season.

Why’d you decide on Penn State?

I applied to so many schools. I applied to Pitt, Duquesne, Miami of Ohio, Xavier, Bucknell, Ohio State. I kept on visiting and revisiting all the different campuses. I really liked Miami of Ohio. I thought that’s where I was going to go. I had one more visit, and it was to Penn State for their accepted students day, and on the spot, I saw it and I kind of fell in love with everything. Beaver Stadium is awesome. The buildings are all beautiful. I felt like at Miami of Ohio, I’d be missing out on the football and that kind of big college atmosphere, even though I really liked the campus. Penn State was a mixture of the beautiful campus with the big atmosphere. Pretty much that day, I made up my mind. I went home and committed a few days later.

What do you plan to study? Furniture?

I’m undecided business right now. I’m thinking maybe supply chain management. They have the top program in the country for supply chain management. My dad and I talked to one of the professors in that program and it seemed pretty interesting.

If you could pick anyone to give a commencement speech at your graduation, who would it be?

I think Steve Carrell. I think he’d be a perfect mixture of wisdom and comedy. He’d sprinkle in some laughs but have a deep speech. I think he’d do a great job.

If you were asked to give a speech, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

I would tell them to take in every moment and take advantage of it. It really went by so fast. I remember hearing that freshman year and I was like, “There’s no way.” But all of a sudden, it was spring of my freshman year and my first volleyball season, and it was like, “That year went real quick.” It kept getting faster and faster as time went on. My sophomore and junior years are a complete blur. Senior year was a blur until it slowed down recently. It was going faster than it ever has. Really just take time and cherish the time you have. Four years isn’t that long.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review Assistant Sports Editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at jbombulie@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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