Jesuit freshman Andy Biladeau comes up short of title in 3,200 meters.
By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2002
CORAL SPRINGS -- Jesuit's depth had been thinned out through the postseason, so much so the Tigers shifted their focus from winning a Class 2A state team title and zeroed in on individual ones.
But even individual titles were hard to come by after the Tigers' depth had shrunk to one by the end of Saturday's state meet in Coral Springs.
Freshman sensation Andy Biladeau represented Jesuit's last hope at a title when he ran the 3,200 meters. In one of the more exciting races of the night, Biladeau and Paxon's Nick Wilson switched leads before Wilson surged at the end to win.
Still, Biladeau broke his own school record with a time of 9 minutes, 19.63 seconds and his runner-up finish helped Jesuit place seventh in the team standings with 23 points.
"I'm not disappointed at all," Biladeau said of his silver medal. "I have so much respect for Nick (Wilson). This is the most fun I've had in a race and I felt I ran real smart."
The only time Biladeau had run against Wilson prior to Saturday was during cross country. Biladeau's plan was to pace himself and make his run toward the end.
Biladeau gained on Wilson in the last three laps and caught him with 200 meters remaining. Wilson countered with a sling-shot move past Biladeau in the final 100 meters and retained the lead.
"We wanted to put Nick (Wilson) through his toughest race of the year," Jesuit coach Mike Boza said.
"Nick met the challenge and ran a great race. So did Andy (Biladeau). I'm real pleased with him."
The Tigers also had two fourth-place finishes, Eric Taitai Egun in the triple jump and Eric Bellotta in the 110 hurdles.
The other medal winner from the county was Robinson's Troy Shakelford, who took third in the 400.
Academy of the Holy Names' Sara Petrick was the only girl to place in the top eight in the county, finishing seventh in the 1,600.