Exeter’s Dixon returns to Woodward as back-to-back CSL champ in Cross Country

Rosalind Dixon and Jasmine Mendoza head to Division III valley meet

By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

FRESNO – Exeter’s Rosalind Dixon will return to the Division III Valley Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno tomorrow as back-to-back individual Central Sequoia League champion. She successfully defended her title on Tuesday, Nov. 6, with a time of 20:12.50 minutes.

“This feels really good,” Dixon said. “It is something I’ve worked hard for this season.”

Dixon has had some extra competition this season. The addition of Hanford West brought another top young runner in Natalie Gonzalez. After enduring a season-long battle, the championship came down to these two runners. Dixon, who is used to running in a pack, got out in front of Gonzalez through the first couple of miles. Gonzalez was able to stick with her, but remained around five seconds behind. Then, at the two-mile mark, Dixon quickened her pace and she pulled away. Dixon eventually won by a 24-second margin.

“It felt good to have that competition in league because that will only make you better,” Dixon said.

All season Dixon has been working on her mental strength during races. Going into her second valley championship meet, she is ready to display what she has learned. In 2017, Dixon ran into tough competition and took fifth place. Her first mile was clocked at 6:05.17, which was a faster pace then what she had been used to. For much of the race, she had maintained an even pace in third position. But in the hills on the back side of the course, fatigue began to set in; when the tiredness began to affect her mind, and she fell to fifth. Dixon will admit that although her sophomore season has seen growth in her mental toughness, she is not there quite yet.

“I am just trying to find what works for me mentally,” Dixon said.

The Monarchs will be represented by two runners as Jasmine Mendoza will make her first appearance in the meet after qualifying with a seventh-place finish of 22:13.90 minutes.

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