Senior Spotlight Isabella Anzaldo: Racing Into The Future

Sarah Chagares

Isabella Anzaldo loves to run. A quick review of the accolades she has accumulated as a member of the Ramapo track team proves that she also has the talent to match that passion. In the spring of 2021, she was named to the All County First Team for the 4×100 and the 4×400 events and, in the winter of 2020 she was named to All County First Team and All North Jersey for the 4×400 event. Clearly, the senior track standout lets her feet do the talking when she steps on to the track during a meet. 

            A four-year varsity member, the track star competes in both winter and spring track running the 100, 200, 400 and sprint relay races. She is also a member of the Cross-Country team. The speedy senior shared what she treasured as the greatest joys of being on the team. She explained that it is “[t] he memories and friendships I’ve made with the team while practicing and competing together.” 

            Although she has achieved a great deal of success as a result of her swift finishing times, running was neither the first sport in which she competed nor was it the racer’s first love. As a youngster she participated in the sports of soccer and softball. It quickly became apparent to her that she did not enjoy either endeavor. Conversely she studied classical Russian ballet for ten years and she found that she quite enjoyed the discipline and commitment that dancing required. However, it was in middle school that she discovered the sport of running and, in doing so found her passion. Once she began competing on the Franklin Avenue Middle School Track and Field team she realized that she loved the competition and she possessed, as she put it, “the urge to beat the person next to me.” Thus, her path became clear and she fully focused on her training as sprinter. 

 

             Anzaldo’s swift feet have served her well through the years, but the champion had to overcome the challenges of ankle surgery and COVID shutdowns during the past year as she was sidelined for a period of time, which compromised her training schedule. During her recovery and rehabilitation from the surgery, the athlete drew inspiration from her role model and fellow American track and field competitor, Chari Hawkins. Anzaldo noted that, “Hawkins had the same ankle surgery as me a few months before I did. I followed her during her recovery process and it inspired me to keep pushing and working hard.” Enduring this trying, and often frustrating, experience taught Anzaldo to continue to work hard, to persevere and to remain determined to reach her goals. It is those attributes that she hopes will be her legacy to the Ramapo Track Team.

             Heading into the winter season Anzaldo will lead the squad as one of the team’s Captains. Her individual goals for the season include getting personal best times in her races. Outlining some of the team’s goals, she stated that getting to the National Championships was high on the list. As she prepares for her upcoming senior season her pre-meet rituals will assist her in realizing those goals. She described her tradition of packing her track bags with the same things, wearing the same clothes to her meets and bringing the same snacks. She always eats pasta throughout the day and she drinks a lot of water and Gatorade. Then she is ready for the starting line. 

            The runner and her coach, Coach Manzo share a mutual respect and admiration for each other. Coach Manzo spoke glowingly of the senior phenom, saying, “Izzie has been tremendous asset to our team since freshman year. She has a great work ethic and has always been in our top group of sprinters, competing at the New Balance Nationals as a freshman and at the Millrose Games as a sophomore, and earning 1st Team all-league and 1st team All-County honors every season she has competed. COVID cut short some of the momentum Izzie had going, but I am looking forward to seeing what she can accomplish in our last season together.” Likewise, Anzaldo was similarly complimentary of her mentor, “I would describe Coach Manzo as encouraging and supportive. Not only does he coach us to succeed as runners, but he helps us become better people.” Coach Manzo certainly knows how to bring out the best in his students and his athletes. 

            Anzaldo’s academic and track journey will continue at Quinnipiac University after she bids farewell to the Ramapo oval. She explained, “I chose Quinnipiac because it has everything I was looking for. The coaches are amazing, the team is super close, they have a great physical therapy program, and it is the perfect distance from home, in my opinion. I am so excited to be a member of the team there and further my education as a Bobcat.” 

            Her speed, her power and her grace have propelled Anzaldo to the top of her sport here at Ramapo. Those same attributes will serve her well as she takes her considerable talents to Quinnipiac and beyond. The talented sprinter may be running for her last year around the Ramapo track as a Raider, but the senior cannot outrun the legacy she leaves her team and her soon-to-be alma mater.