Sunday, October 02, 2011

Catching up with Vista del Lago junior Madeleine Ankhelyi...

Today we chat with Vista del Lago junior runner, Madeleine Ankhelyi.  At the recent Stanford Invitational, Ankhelyi finished in 3rd place in the loaded Division III field trailing only Carrie Verdon of Campolindo and Karlie Garcia of Oakmont with a lifetime best of 17:18.  That time stood up as the fourth fastest time overall for the SJS star runner.  Her team finished in 2nd place behind defending state champions Campolindo HS and are currently ranked 3rd in Division III in the latest state meet rankings.

1) What sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
Before running, I was a competitive soccer player. I played soccer from the time I was 5 until freshman year. I also played some years of softball and basketball as a kid.

2) How did you get your start in running and both sports?
Soccer was really a big part of bringing me into running. I actually enjoyed running at soccer practice so I decided I should probably give running a try. In 4th and 5th grade I ran in my first elementary school track meets, and I liked it so much I ran track and cross country for my middle school. I ran in a few PAUSATF track races around 7th grade, and by the time I hit high school I was in love with running.

3) What was the first success you remember in Cross Country? Track and Field?
The first success I remember in XC was in 7th grade. It was my first year of middle school XC, and I won my first race, which was a surprise to me. I remember wondering why I didn’t want to run XC in 6th grade! As for my first track success, the first track meet I ran was in 4th grade at the one elementary school track meet that our district puts on every year. I won all four of my events. The first time I ran a distance track event was 6th grade where I broke 6 minutes for the 1600, which was super exciting for me. Another early milestone for me was racing at the US Junior Nationals race in 7th grade, where I ran the 1500 and finished 4th.

4) Who were the runners you looked up to when you first started the sport on your own team or other teams?
From about 7th grade, Alex Kosinski has been my idol. It inspires me to know that a girl that lived in my same area had such success with running. Coming into a new high school, with a very small program, we didn’t have a lot of upperclassmen runners. From the start my idol at Vista was Jennifer Arbaugh. I looked up to her because of her determination, sweetness, and caring for the entire team. A lot of girls a few years older than me became my role models also- Sam Ralstin and Christine Zavesky. It was fun just being able to race with them so often and learn from them.

5) Where do you feel you started to transition into a runner and what changes did you make in order to continue your success?
I started to sort of become a runner in 7th grade, but freshman year was the big turning point for me. I stopped playing soccer after freshman year cross country, in order to focus on running and school. I didn’t have to stop playing soccer, it was my own decision, but I had begun to love running so much I wanted to become better.

6) Tell us a little about your Vista del Lago cross country team and how it has evolved during your four years at the school?
I came to Vista in 2009, in the 3rd year of the school. Our team wasn’t that big, and we certainly weren’t one of the fastest teams out there, but we all got along really well. One of the things I love about Vista is how close we are all. It’s like being a part of one giant family. Our program has slowly grown, from 7 kids in 2007, to around 30 this year. We’re all working hard, and our goal is to just keep improving every year. The program is still young, and changes are made on a yearly basis, but it’s really neat to be a part of the still growing program.

7) Who are your coaches and how have they helped you become the runner you are today?
First of all, my dad has been my coach since I started running. He comes to all of my races and has really helped me in all that I do. For my first 2 years at Vista, Mike Livingston and Robert Grove were my coaches. They are absolutely the best coaches in the world. They stuck with the whole team through thick and thin, showing up in between all of their work schedules to coach us. They helped me personally grow into the runner I am today both by example and motivation. They turned me from a scared, nervous freshman, into a confident runner. This year our head coach, is Alex Mansoor, who replaced Coach Mike. He is a great new addition to our program, bringing some new ideas with him that are helping us. He is a great coach, and the team this year is benefiting from his help. We have another new coach this year, assistance coach Leonard Sperandeo, who has been an enormous help. He has helped me with all the details of running- how to cross train, what to eat, how my form is looking, and also keeping a good mentality. I also talked to him before my race at the Stanford Invite, which helped a lot.

8) Tell us a little about the Humboldt Camp and how that experience has helped your team this year?
The Humboldt Distance Running Camp up at Humboldt State is always one of the highlights of my year. A good 10-15 kids from Vista head up there each summer for week to go on some amazing runs, hear some great speakers, and learn more about running that we ever have. We learn about literally every aspect of running, including running mechanics, core work, mentality, etc. In addition to all of this, though, bonding with each other is one of the greatest parts of the camp. We come home from Humboldt every year closer together as a team. Not to mention stronger from all of the crazy runs we go on. :)

9) Clare Carroll transferred to Vista del Lago this year. How has her presence on the team been beneficial for you and the team?
Clare is an amazing addition to our team. Aside from her speed, she is also a fantastic person to be around. She took to the team from the beginning, and we all get along very well. I personally am very excited to have her on the team because she helps push me, making me a stronger runner. We work together in workouts, which really has helped us both. We’ve known each other since middle school, so it’s fun to be on the same high school team.

10) Favorite distance run? Favorite cross country course? Favorite cross country invitational? Favorite opponents? Favorite track and field event? Favorite track and field invitational? Track and Field personal records? Favorite team tradition?

My favorite distance run is definitely the tall trees run up at the Humboldt Camp. Locally though, it’s running my long run around Lake Natoma every week. My favorite xc course is Clovis- the state course. My favorite xc invite in probably the Stanford Invite because of the amazing energy. There are a lot of other invites that are fun though- its hard to decide. I don’t really have a favorite opponent- I love racing against any competition. The favorite track invite is probably Sacramento Meet of Champions. I love that track and it’s an opportunity to race on it before Masters. The track PRs are: 400- 59.9 (unofficial 4X400 split), 800- 2:18, 1600- 4:58, 3200- 11:33. My favorite team traditions include making t-shirts, the Humboldt Camp, pasta feeds the night before big races, and praying before every race.

11) What races are you looking forward to as you look ahead to the rest of the season and who are the toughest opponents for you as an individual and for your team in the SJS Division III?
The races that I am most looking forward to as the season progresses are Sections and the State Meet. They are always so much fun, and it’s great to see everyone rounding into peak shape. Our toughest opponent (individual and team) in our SJS Division III is probably Oakmont, with Karlie Garcia. It’s never easy to tell for sure how different teams are doing though.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me and other runners in the area! It’s a great opportunity and resource for running lovers. Keep running!  :D

Thank you very much for your time Madeleine!  AJC


Anonymous said...

Medeleine is a junior...correct??Is Clare Carroll hurt or are there issues with her transfer as stated by Dyestat?

Albert Caruana said...

Yes Madeleine is a junior. I fixed the mistake.

I am not sure if Clare hasn't competed yet due to injuries or transfer issues.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that 7th grade was the first year she ran xc. My daughter (in 6th grade at the time) competed against her in a combined 6th/7th grade girls middle school xc race. Madeleine won by a huge margin - running very relaxed. Thanks for this interview - she is a very good runner. It was my understanding the Clare Carroll has a calf injury - but I could be wrong.

Popular Posts