Ankhelyi, Cooper headed to state track meet

By: Matt Long
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Madeleine Ankhelyi and Emily Cooper will represent Vista del Lago at the state track and field championships. Ankhelyi, a freshman coming off a cross country season where she made the state meet, became Vista’s first Masters champion, as she won the 1,600-meter run on Friday at Hughes Stadium with a personal-best time of 4 minutes, 58.98 seconds. In the biggest 1,600-meter race of her life, Ankhelyi ran her best, improving her time by eight seconds. “I was just trying to make it to state,” Ankhelyi said. “I just was hanging on to see what place I got.” Ankhelyi ran second behind Granite Bay’s Christine Zavesky for most of the race until the final 100 meters where she kicked it in and made the pass. “I’ve got a strong kick so I was comfortable running second,” Ankhelyi said. “I was just sitting there waiting to see what I could do. I know Christine has a good kick too, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to beat her.” Ankhelyi beat Zavesky by less than a second to win the race. Ankhelyi was just as excited when Cooper qualified for the state meet in the 100 and 200-meter runs. She will have a teammate, who’s also a good friend, with her at Buchanan High School in Clovis on Friday and Saturday. “It will be a lot of fun,” Ankhelyi said. “It’s great to be the first track and field athletes from Vista to make the state meet.” Ankhelyi said she’s hoping to run another personal-best time at the state meet. Cooper, a junior, placed second in the 100 and 200 meters with times of 12.3 and 24.86, respectively. While neither was a personal-best time, she was happy with how she ran. “I wasn’t seeded in the top-three so to finish second in both events was really exciting,” Cooper said. “I was a little nervous before the races, but not as nervous as I thought I would be. I knew I had to do what I’ve been doing the whole season.” Like Ankhelyi, Cooper was happy to be the first track and field athletes at Vista to qualify for the state meet. “We wanted to make it to state all season so it was exciting to actually do it,” Cooper said. “I’m glad Madeleine made it too so we can go together. We don’t work out together since she’s a distance runner, but we ran together on the 4x400 relay team and that’s how I got to know her. We’re really close now and it will be a lot of fun having a teammate at state.” Cooper has no particular goal set in her mind for the state meet, saying she just wants to experience the state meet and show what she can do. Vista coach Mark Bosse is proud of his state-qualifying athletes and hopes for the best at the state meet. “This is their first trip for both so we will hope for greatness but not plan on it,” Bosse said. “Realistically, I think a top-15 performance for both women is possible.” Cooper almost qualified in a third event, the 4x100-meter relay, but she and Khendal Turner, Narissa Tsuboi and Jessica Sampson just missed by placing fourth. “We went in not knowing what we were going to get so I think we were excited just to get fourth,” Cooper said. “We were within reach.” Tsuboi ran well despite battling a hamstring injury, while Sampson posted her fastest split of the season and predicted a state berth for the team next year, according to Bosse.