tampabay.com

Decisive finish concludes close race

Durant's Kevin Jones takes off on the final stretch of the Don Bishop Invitational, winning by 15 seconds.

By BRYAN BURNS
Published September 17, 2006


BRANDON - Durant's Kevin Jones and Freedom's Javier Beuzeville were so close during Saturday's Don Bishop Invitational cross country race at Brandon High - a few feet separated the two runners for most of the meet - that it was entirely conceivable the race could end in a dead heat.

But as the runners approached the track, signaling slightly more than 400 meters left in the race, Jones decided he'd seen enough of Beuzeville.

Jones kicked hard when he hit the track pavement and completely left Beuzeville in his wake on the final stretch, winning by 15 seconds with a time of 16:55.

"I wanted to start my kick before I entered the track. It was a nice kick," Jones said with a grin. "Seeing the finish line gets you motivated a little bit."

Jones was joined by two of his teammates in the top 10 - John Mitchell finished seventh, and Khemeron Kelly was eighth - yet the Cougars were only able to muster a fifth-place team finish.

Robinson's Matthew Altinari and Cody Hill, who finished third and fourth, respectively, led the Knights to the boys team title with 75 points, 22 better than second-place Newsome.

There was no such finish-line drama in the girls race, as Gaither's Amanda Quick jumped out to the head of the pack from the beginning and remained alone in first place for the remainder of the race.

She won in 19:28 - 1 minute, 23 seconds in front of Bloomingdale's Janelle Karlen.

"I went out fast. ... I felt really good, but it's kind of hard when you're not running with someone," Quick said. "I wasn't really happy with my time because it wasn't one of my best. But I think it's pretty good for running alone out there."

Brandon - led by the top 10 finishes of Meagan Thies (third), Sarah Drake (sixth) and Amber Eisenberg (10th) and the steady running of juniors Sarah Howie and Jessica Jones - won the girls team trophy with 46 points. Newsome took second with 55.

"I expected us to be one of the top two teams today," Brandon coach Bob Maestas said. "I knew Newsome would be tough to beat.

"We're looking to move up in the county. I think I've got a great group of runners. We're still not 100 percent. Two of my top runners were hampered by ailments - Eisenberg is coming off an illness, and Howie has an inflammation of the cartilage between the sternum and the ribs that sidelined her for a bit - but they still ran strong for us today."