Accomplishments: Kari Anema is happy to have given up one sport for another one.

The long distance runner on the Tokay High girls track and field team has found success this spring season. Most recently at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I finals at Hubbard Field on May 10, where Anema, a sophomore, took third place in the girls 800-meter race with a time of 2 minutes, 19.39 seconds.

“I was really excited; I was not expecting third at all,” Anema said. “I was just excited for me since I had worked really hard this season.”

Anema ran with half of the 20 runners competing in the race. But she knew at some point, she would have to break away from the rest of the runners. Toward the last two laps of the race, Anema kicked in a higher speed to finish strong.

“I knew it was going to be like that from the very beginning,” Anema said. “I tried to get in front of the pack at the beginning of the race. But I just got pushed back in. It’s just something I need to work on because I’m still not very experienced. Obviously, it turned out good.”

Anema also competed in the 3,200 race, taking 11th place at 11:42.46. The top eight in each running and field events advance to the section’s Masters, which starts today at Davis High of Davis. The trials for the girls and boys’ 800 races will be held today, and the finals on Saturday.

Training for the Masters this week has been focused but short for Anema.

“I’ve been doing sprint-type workouts,” Anema said. “Long runs in between each one. It’s definitely a lot easier and shorter this week.”

At the Tri-City Athletic League finals, which were also held at Hubbard Field on May 3, Anema broke the league mark in the girls 1,600 race, clocked at 5:19.66. The previous time was 5:22.71 set by a Lincoln runner in 2015. Kali, Kari’s twin sister who is five minutes older, also broke the record after Kari at 5:22.54.

Part of Kari Anema’s workouts during the season was wanting to run with the Tokay boys’ long-distance runners. She felt that would make her stronger in endurance.

Anema admits that this season has been fun in terms of improving and strengthening to become a better long distance runner. She has competed in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 races this spring.

“I had no idea what I was doing,” said Anema of her freshman year. “I had no strategy. I didn’t know what pace to go in each race; I’d run the 1,600, 800 and 3,200 the same way. This year, I’m really learning how to use my speed and endurance to my advantage. It’s gotten a lot easier over time.”

In case one might be wondering, there is no competition between the Anema sisters. Kari pointed out that her and Kali are like assistant coaches for the other.

“I definitely she helps me get better,” said Kari Anema of Kali. “We don’t want to do better than each other. We’re happy for each other in the good times; I want her to do real well.”

If anyone is trying to tell the difference between the twins when they are on the track, look at their socks. Kari usually wears calf-length socks and Kali seems to prefer ankle-length.

This is Kari Anema’s second season competing in track and field. Last fall, she competed on the Tokay High girls cross-country team for the first time.

“Look like she was having a lot of fun with running, so I wanted to give it a try,” said Kari Anema of her sister Kali.

What’s nicer for the twins and the Tokay track and field program is working out at Hubbard Field’s all-weather track. That is part of the school’s revamped stadium that has field turf, new bleachers that have tunnels on the west side of the home stadium and east side of the visitor’s bleachers, press box and stadium lights. The stadium officially opened last December before the start of a Liberty Ranch-Tokay girls soccer game. The project took more than a year to complete.

“Lot more practical and a lot less timing in getting to the track,” Anema said. “Last year, we’d have to run to Lodi High or (elsewhere).”

Turns out that Anema’s change of sports has paid off for the Tigers’ track and field and cross-country programs. At the start of her and Kali’s freshman year at Tokay, Kari was going to try out for the school’s freshmen volleyball team. She had been playing the sport since junior high school.

“I just felt kind of burnt out in the sport,” said Anema of volleyball. “I just found it boring, I guess.”

When her track and field season ends at some points in the post-season, Anema plans to take two weeks off from running. Then she and Kali will begin their training for the upcoming cross-country season.

“I’ll just take a short break,” Anema said.

Contact Mike Bush at mikeb@lodinews.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.

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