Vista dreaming of state championship run

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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Clare Carroll missed nearly all of her first cross country season at Vista del Lago because of a nagging calf injury. Carroll, a sophomore who ran for Granite Bay a year ago, returned just in time for the postseason, running leisurely at the Sierra Valley Conference League meet in late October before her first “real” race of the season at the Sac-Joaquin Section meet on Nov. 11. Carroll’s return has the Eagles preparing for Saturday’s state cross country championships at Woodward Park in Fresno. Not only did the Eagles qualify as a team by winning the Div. III section title, but they’ve got a decent chance to capture the state championship as well. Vista enters the meet ranked third in the state in Division III, trailing Palos Verdes from the Southern Section and Campolindo from the North Coast Section. The team’s goal is to win the state meet. “I think we have a chance to do it,” Vista first-year coach Alex Mansoor said. “Our top-three are better than anyone elses and judging from the section meet our fourth and fifth runners are coming around. I think we’ve got a good shot.” Along with the team’s fourth and fifth runners, sophomore Alegra Mendez and junior Jennifer Morgan, Carroll needs to get closer to the shape she was in last year when she placed second in the state meet in the Division I race. After training only five weeks this season because of the calf injury, she’s not quite where she wants to be, at least she wasn’t at the section meet. “My calf injury is fine and I’m 100 percent healthy,” Carroll said, “but I’m hoping I get in better running shape between sections and state. I was really happy with how I ran at sections, as I was only 20 seconds slower than last year. At the beginning of the season, my personal goal was to win the state meet, but because of missing all that time, I’m just going to run my hardest and see what happens. As a team, I think we’ve got a fair shot at winning it. All we can do is run our best and see where that puts us.” Junior Madeleine Ankhelyi, who along with Carroll and freshman Sierra Jaeger comprises Vista’s top-three runners, is excited for the opportunity to run for a state title. “I think we’ve got a good chance and we’re going to go after it,” Ankhelyi said. “It will be tough, but I think we can do it if everyone has a good day.” Ankhelyi’s goal individually is to place in the top-five and run a 17:30. “I’m going to go after the leaders and see what I can do,” she said. Ankhelyi ran 18:07 a year ago and placed ninth. Vista finished 13th at the state meet last year, while Campolindo won it with Palos Verdes running second.