AUGUSTA, Kan. — Anjali Hocker Singh has competed in just two high school cross country seasons, and she’s already on pace to become one of the best runners in Kansas history.
The Olathe North sophomore is undefeated at Class 6A cross country meets after winning Saturday’s meet at the 4 Mile Creek Resort.
That brings her individual gold medal total to three after winning the 3,200-meter run at the 6A state track and field meet last spring. She also finished runner-up in the 800- and 1,600-meter runs at the same meet.
“It just proves how consistent work can really help you achieve your goals,” Singh said.
Hocker Singh lost only a single race all season. She placed fourth at the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota. Her fastest time of the season was 17:31.6, which she set at the Olathe Twilight Invitational. That time was 13 seconds better than anyone else in the state all season.
She broke the 18-minute barrier in her final four meets this fall. That came after she set her personal record of 18:04.4 to begin the season at the JK Gold Classic High School Invitational on Sept. 4.
Hocker Singh set that PR, which was obviously later broken, on the course where she won both of her state championships.
“My team really helped a lot,” Singh said. “They are very positive and I think we did a great job today.”
Hocker Singh said she felt good when she woke up Saturday morning. It showed once the race start, as she paced the front pack for a few minutes before breaking off on her own.
Her winning time was 17:45.6, which was 26 seconds ahead of her teammate, Shea Johnson, who finished runner-up. Hocker Singh’s 2020 winning time was 18:39.2, when she won by just three seconds.
Olathe North senior Kaylee Tobaben was also near the front of the race, finishing fourth overall. Seconds after Hocker Singh would run through the crowd, ON fans were cheering for Johnson and Tobaben, which helped Hocker Singh throughout the race.
“I was very proud of them,” Singh said. “Shea, especially, because she pushed really hard at the end. She did her best, so did Kaylee, and I think the rest of the team did, too.”
Has Hocker Singh thought about the idea of becoming a four-time state champion?
Not yet, she said. But, she’s two-for-two thus far.
– Story by Jimmy Gillispie