Saxton wins his third Dave Reynolds Biathlon

July 7, 2023

Dover High School graduate Sean Saxton won his third Dave Reynolds Biathlon July 2 in Rehoboth Beach, beating a star-studded field of former champions and runner-up finishers. Saxton, 25, a much-improved swimmer over the past few years, exited the water second with a time of 11:54 in the 800-meter ocean swim and trailed defending champion and former Rehoboth Beach Patrol guard Xander Geiersbach of Middletown by just over a minute. Geiersbach, 25, led the field of 71 men with the top swim of the day in 10:49. It took Saxton only the first mile of the race to catch and easily move past Geiersbach, as his run mile pace of 5:34 was nearly a minute faster than the defending champ’s 6:23 pace. Saxton hit the finish to a cheering Boardwalk crowd with a 5K time of 17:17 for an overall time of 29:37, while Geiersbach split a 19:47 5K to put him almost two minutes back in 31:18 for second place.

“My plan was to go full gas or at least give everything I had on this given day from start to finish,” said Saxton, who also won the title in 2018 and 2021. “Xander always keeps the swim honest, so I know I must try to be in good position coming out of the swim. It is a great event that I look forward to every summer.”

Geiersbach won the event in 2019, 2020 and 2022. Augie Carlozzi, 25, of Dewey Beach was the runner-up finisher in 2019 and 2022; this year, he finished third in a time of 34:34. Matt Dunn of Trappe, Md., won the male masters title in 35:16.

In the female action, it was Kelly Kolanowski, 23, out of Brinklow, Md., emerging from the ocean with a top female swim time of 12:42. Twenty seconds back was defending champion Maddie Drager, 19, of Bethlehem, Pa., in 13:05. Madeline Tonn, 20, last year’s runner-up, out of Aston, Pa., had the eighth-best swim in 13:48, while Megan Culbertson, 25, of Linthicum Heights, Md., trailed the leaders, coming out of the water with a 14:02 swim in ninth place. Eleanor Fox, 19, of Leesburg, Va., had the 12th-best swim in 14:20.

The transition was exciting, with the female athletes trying to make up some time from the swim. Fox had the best transition at 30 seconds, followed by Culbertson at 49 seconds and Kolanowski at 50 seconds on her heels. Culbertson put together the fastest 5K split of the day at 22:23, while Fox split 22:56 and Drager 23:29. At the finish, it was Culbertson with the win in 37:14, capitalizing on the fastest run split of the day. Fox grabbed second in 37:44 with a super transition and the second-best run of the day. Defending champ Drager was third in 37:46, as only 42 seconds separated the top three females. Swim leader Kolanowski split 25:58 and faded to sixth place in 39:31. Longtime biathlete Paula Pels finished fifth in 39:29 to win the female masters championship. It was a competitive, successful morning remembering Dave Reynolds in Rehoboth Beach.

Bill Degnan 5K

The 25th annual Bill Degnan 5K will be held Sunday, July 16, on the Cape Henlopen High School campus. The course will begin on the track and make two loops around the campus, taking in a combination of track, road and grass. Degnan was the Division I Coach of the Year after winning the state track & field championship in 1986. Bill and I were coaching together in the 1995-96 indoor season when he passed away unexpectedly. Bill was a husband, teacher, coach and friend, and one of the most popular teachers in the Cape Henlopen family. Not a day goes by that I do not think of coach Bill Degnan. Join us as we remember Bill through a 5K at Cape High, and as I do each year, I encourage all recipients of the Bill Degnan Faith in Human Spirit Scholarship to come out and participate. This year’s scholarship winners Alexa Dougherty and Trey Leggins will be our starters.

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