By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
LINDSAY – The most decorated runner in the history of Lindsay High School will appear once more on a high school track. McKaylie Caesar will have her curtain call during the State Championships at Buchanan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday, May 25.
“I’m really looking forward to running in the state meet for my last race,” Caesar said.
This will be Caesar’s second straight appearance at the Track and Field State Championships. She has made a combined five in both track and cross country. Her best finish came in November at the Division IV Cross Country Championships where she took tenth place overall, 18:24.90.
If Caesar has learned one lesson over her years of competing in big races, it is that “you have to run your own race.” Unlike many of the meets she has competed in up until now, Caesar will have to run in a pack for most or all of the race. She is also focusing more on beating the clock versus beating a fellow runner. Both tasks she will be able to mentally prepare for this week since her legs still feel fresh.
It has been a season-long endeavor for Caesar to manage her mileage. She did not run a full slate of events until the East Sequoia League Championships where she swept all three of her individual events for the second straight year. The strategy has paid off as she ran personal records in both the 1600- and 3200-meter runs for the second meet in a row despite the event’s foul weather conditions. A cold rain and wind made running almost unbearable.
While Caesar withstood the weather, she was only able to qualify for the 3200. Her time of 10:56.13 minutes placed her in third. Such a high finishing position has automatically qualified her for Saturday’s final which should prove valuable.
Caesar finished behind two Buchanan runners, Meagen Lowe and Corie Smith. For much of the race, Caesar tried to keep up with them before they lost their pace around the halfway point. By herself, she was unsure if she’d set a record until she saw that she was on pace entering the final lap.
“It was super exciting to run below eleven minutes and to get a top three finish to cap it off,” Caesar said.
In the 1600-meter, Caesar accomplished a season-long goal. She ran a sub-five-minute time for the first time in her career at 4:59.91. Four other runners also clocked sub-five times, three of whom set personal records as well. She finished outside of the qualifying spot in fifth place. Afterward, she was filled with mixed emotions.
“I was excited to finally break it, but at the same time disappointed I didn’t qualify,” Caesar said. “Looking back at it though I can just be excited that I broke five minutes.”