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Vista girls enjoy state meet experience

By: Matt Long
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Madeleine Ankhelyi and Emily Cooper didn’t win any medals or even make the finals at the California State Track and Field Championships, but make no mistake; it was a successful trip to Clovis. The underclassmen, Cooper just completed her junior year at Vista del Lago while Ankhelyi, her freshman year, gained a tremendous amount of experience and held their own in the ultra-competitive meet. “It wasn’t my best race, but it was definitely a very good experience for me,” Ankhelyi said. “My goal was to make it to the state meet and it was an awesome event.” Ankhelyi completed her heat in the 1,600-meter run in 5 minutes, 12.92 seconds. She finished ninth in her heat and 17th overall. The top-12 runners qualified for the final and Ankhelyi finished eight seconds short. “I got to race with the top girl (state champ Chloe Curtis), who was in my heat,” Ankhelyi said. “The experience of the race was invaluable for me as a freshman. I had an amazing season and to finish at the state meet was huge. Hopefully, it will help me next year.” Cooper competed in the 100 and 200-meter dashes, placing 14th in the 200 in 24.87 and 19th in the 100 in a personal-best time of 11.95, the first time she’s finished the race in less than 12 seconds. For that performance alone, Cooper was pleased. She missed qualifying for the finals by two-tenths of a second. “I thought it was really good,” Cooper said. “To finally break 12 and run a personal-best at the state meet is great. I got a good start to the race and I was excited about it when I finished.” The fact that Cooper even made the state meet was hard for her to believe. “At first it didn’t feel like I was even there; it was kind of like a dream,” Cooper said. “After I finished the race, everything released and I felt this rush.” After getting her feet wet in the 100 meters, Cooper was more relaxed for the 200 and posted a time of 24.87, six-tenths from making the finals. “Fourteenth wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as a good a race for me as the 100,” Cooper said. Cooper said she hopes to use this season, culminating with a trip to the state meet, as a stepping-stone for next year. Ankhelyi and Cooper plan to compete at the Golden West Invitational at Folsom High on Saturday, Ankhelyi running in the 800 meters and Cooper in the 200. Then they will both take a short break from training before Ankhelyi starts preparing for cross country in the fall and Cooper hits the weight room to add more muscle before next year’s track season.