Ankhelyi aims for state title

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Ankhelyi’s Accomplishments


Section meet: 

(year, place, time, team finish)

2009 - third, 19:17, team second

2010 - first, 18:59, team first

2011 - second, 18:01, team first

2012 - first, 17:44, team second


State meet

(year, place, time, team finish)

2009 - 10th, 18:21, team 13th

2010 - ninth, 18:07, team 13th

2011 - third, 17:34, team second

2012 - ???, ???, ???

Madeleine Ankhelyi has had a magnificent cross country career, which she wraps up Saturday at the state championship meet at Woodward Park in Fresno.

The Vista del Lago senior enters Saturday’s meet coming off a Sac-Joaquin Section title she won on Nov. 10. Ankhelyi’s personal-best time of 17 minutes, 44 seconds, was the fastest time of any female on the day and the second-fastest time by any female who’s ever run on the Willow Hills course.

Ankhelyi seems to be peaking at the right time. Her time at the section meet was 17 seconds faster than her previous best time there. If she takes 17 seconds off her time she ran at the state meet last year, it would have been fast enough to win the Division III race.

“It really was exciting to win and be a two-time section champion,” Ankhelyi said. “My ultimate goal, however, is to win a state championship. That’s been my motivation all year and that’s what I’ve been working toward.”

Ankhelyi knows it won’t be easy, but she’s going for it. Last year she finished in third, 15 seconds behind race-winner Carrie Verdon of Campolindo. Verdon has graduated and last year’s second-place finisher, Oakmont’s Karlie Garcia, won’t be in the race either. 

Ankhelyi said when Verdon and Garcia took off last year, she couldn’t go with them. This year she hopes to be able to stay with the leaders.

“The strategy for me is to first off, not stress out over it,” Ankhelyi said. “I’ve raced so many times that I just have to relax and see how it plays out. About a mile-and-a-half to two miles into last year’s race, two girls took off and I tried to go and I couldn’t. This year I’m stronger.”

Ankhelyi has extra incentive this season. Not only is it her senior year, but after placing second last year, she and her teammates are in the running for a state team title.

“I would love for us to get on the podium again,” Ankhelyi said. “I think it’s possible. We’ve been riddled with injuries this year and I think everyone is coming back in good shape for the state meet. Sierra (Jaeger) and Clare (Carroll) were coming off injuries at the section meet and everyone worked out last week so I think we’ll be ready to go.”

As a senior and team leader, Ankhelyi’s advice to the team before the meet will be to relax and to enjoy the experience. For herself, she knows it’s her last chance, and perhaps her best, to win a state championship.

“It’s definitely gone by fast,” said Ankhelyi of her high school career. “It’s crazy to think that four years have gone by already. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.”