UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Grad transfer McKaylie Caesar led the 21st-ranked Utah cross country team with a top-10 finish as the Utes placed fifth as a squad at the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships with 103 points behind PRs from all five scorers on Friday at Chambers Creek Regional Park.
“Heck of a battle today,” head coach Kyle Kepler said postrace. “I thought we ran very well, particularly through our top four. A 19 second spread and being just 1-of-3 teams with four in the top-20 will lend itself to good things in two weeks.”
This marks the third time in the Pac-12 era that the Women of Utah have finished fifth in the conference meet (2015-16) and first time since 2016 when it was held in Tucson.
Freshman Anna Peters led the Utes for the majority of the race as she had done all year but with about 1500m to go, grad transfer McKaylie Caesar let her veteran experience take over to finish ninth-overall as Utah’s top finisher with a time of 19:36.0.
— Utah T&F/XC (@Utah_trackfield) October 27, 2023
Caesar’s ninth-place finish also garnered her Second-Team All-Pac-12 honors – which will be officially announced early next week. It also marks the fifth-straight year that Utah has had a runner earn All-Pac-12 honors.
Freshman Katarzyna Nowakowska ran well down the stretch for Utah and passed four runners in the final 1000m to go from 19th to finish in 15th-place on Friday for a time of 19:50.4 to just miss out on all-conference honors. Nowakowska started the race in 30th through the first 1000m of the race before moving up to 22nd by the time she reached the 3k marker and continued to accelerate in the final 1k to finish in 15th.
Peters ran well with the top group through 3000m but tailed off at the end behind Caesar and Nowakowska before finishing 16th-overall as Utah’s third finisher with a time of 19:51.4 – just one second behind Nowakowska.