Lindsay’s McKaylie Caesar wins 1,600- and 800-meter races at the Exeter Monarch Invitational
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
EXETER – A new rivalry was born last Friday night. In the last cross country season, two of the best foothills area distance runners ran all around each other, but never set foot in the same race. During the 1,600-meter run of the Exeter Monarch Invitational, Lindsay’s McKaylie Caesar and Exeter’s Rosalind Dixon set foot on the track together. In this first meeting, it was Caesar’s get-out-front-quick running style which proved to be the difference for clocking a winning time of 5:18.33.
“I knew that Dixon was going to be tough competition,” Caesar said. “I still had to focus on my race and do my thing.”
The seasoned champion in both track and cross country knew how to set herself up in the best position for the win. Even before the starting gun, Caesar lined up on the inside of the starting line. From there, she was able to lead a breakaway group of two runners in the first 100 meters, almost identical to the start of her 800-meter win (2:22.95).
“She ran a very beautiful, tactical race,” said Lindsay head coach Orlando Benitez.
In contrast, Dixon lined up as far outside of the line as possible. It seemed to help with her wait-until-the-right-moment running style, with a component of that to ensure she was not cut off at the start.
“I don’t have to pause for a second to get back into place if I do get cut off,” Dixon said.
Caesar for much of the first three laps led the breakaway group of runners. It was on the back side of the third lap when she encountered something out of the ordinary. Both runners from Wasco and Sunnyside split around her to take the lead. While different, it helped her conserve some energy.
“It was nice to run behind them and let them break the wind for me,” Caesar said.
The last move came just as the final lap began. Caesar had retaken the lead, building up a five-second lead. Eventually she won by an eight-second margin.
Running in the main group was Dixon. For the first couple of laps, she navigated her way from three runners back to the front runner. In the final lap, she began to break away to make up some ground on the leaders. Closing in on Wasco’s Sayra Raya, she ran out of race and finished one second behind at 5:27.50.
Dixon’s strong finish and 3200-meter win with a time of 11:43.81 was only a couple of performances which won the Exeter Monarchs girls team the Sequoia-Sierra Division. Their 72-point total was eight clear of Yosemite in second place. The Monarch girls’ sprinting events also resulted in strong performances by the team.
In the 4X100 relay, the team of Chloe Welch, Teagan Bryant, Mattie Fry and Isabel Martinez looked a little off, but they went on to win the Sequoia-Sierra Division section of the race, clocking a time of 52.68 seconds.
The start and running were smooth, but the baton handoffs were a problem for the team. In both the first pass and second transitions, the runner making the handoff had to reach multiple times for a successful pass. The second between Teagan Bryant and Mattie Fry almost disqualified them, when a slow handoff was completed close to the boundary line. It closed the final results to a tenth of a second ahead of Yosemite in the division.
Strong sprinting led the Exeter and Lindsay boys teams to third and sixth place finishes respectively in the Sequoia-Sierra Division. Exeter, who finished with 86 points, finished in the top two for three events. Christian Genetti clocked an 11.69-second win in the 100-meter, and was part of the 4X100 relay team which clocked a 44.62-second win. Chad Hilvers ran the third leg of the relay team, and finished second in the 200-meter at 23.74 seconds.
Lindsay had finishers in the top five of every race. The Lindsay girls’ team also shared a fifth place finish with Selma, and Shafter with 55 points.