Track and Field and cross country athletes commit


Sayra Aquino

Anayacsi Diaz signs for San Jose State University on May 10 at lunch in the Sanger High Library.

Two of Sanger High’s long distance runners who have been running Cross Country and Track and Field for several years have recently committed to D1 colleges.
Leah Mendibles committed to UC Santa Barbara and Anayacsi Diaz signed to San Jose State University recently.
“UCSB was a school that I felt had everything for me,” said Mendibles. “It had the major I wanted to pursue in Linguistics with an emphasis on Speech pathology. I also felt like I connected with the team and really liked their team culture.”
Mendibles said she feels like the college coach will help her become a better runner.
“Lastly, I loved the campus and how it was so close to the beach, and when I went on my official visit, I felt like I found a school that I have always looked for,” said Mendibles.
Diaz’s decision to commit to SJSU became easy once she felt welcomed by the school.
“Something that made me want to commit to San José was that I felt like I was at home,” Diaz said. “I didn’t want to continue running, but I knew if I did it would be for San José, so when I went on my visit, I literally fell in love with everything there, and told myself this is where I want to be.”
Diaz said the coach was also super understanding and helpful, which also made her want to be there.
Mendibles was inspired to start running by her mom who was also a runner.
“My dad was also involved in many different sports when he was younger so he always encouraged me to try new sports,” she said. “When I was in elementary school they both encouraged me to go out for the cross country team.”
Diaz’ has her teacher to thank for pursuing competitive running.
“Mrs. Daniel, my third grade teacher/elementary coach, helped me get into and introduced me to this sport,” said Diaz.
Both girls have set goals and standards for the next season and they expect to work hard to adapt to new training regiments. They are also looking forward to getting to know new teammates while also balancing their academics with athletics.

Leah Mendibles signs for UC Santa Barbara on May 10 at lunch in the Sanger High Library. (Sayra aquino)

One of Mendibles’ greatest memories comes from her athletic accomplishments alongside her team.
“High school cross country and track has given me many memorable memories and some of my best friends that I am so thankful for,” she said. “Some of my favorite memories would be going to Arcadia Invitational and breaking the 4×1600 school record with my team, winning Valley for Cross Country in 2021, and going to Mammoth during the summer.”
Diaz’s greatest moments come from the memories she made with her teammates who are more like family.
“They know more things about me than I know about myself, which is crazy,” she said. She also really enjoyed all of the overnight trips teammates.
“During those trips, we always had fun. We would doordash food, have endless laughter, play Just Dance, and so much more. I will always cherish every memory I have had during these sports,” said Diaz.
Mendibles appreciates her coaches that have helped her along the way.
She thanked coaches Sean Marzolf and Clay Manning, and the other track and cross country coaches who have helped train the team.
She said she appreciates all of the encouragement throughout her seasons as an Apache.
Diaz said she would not be going to San José and continuing my running career without the support of her third grade teacher.
“Even now during high school, she is always still there for me,” said Diaz. “She’s always there to cheer me on at my meets/races, I’m glad I’m able to say that I can always count on her for being there to either support me, cheer me on, or just be there for me in general. Even though she was my coach years ago, she has pushed me to be the greatest version of myself and I couldn’t be more thankful for her, and I hope she never forgets that.”