Jesuit matches up nicely vs. state foe

Published October 3, 2006

TAMPA - Despite finishing third at the flrunners.com Invitational Race of Champions on Friday, the Jesuit boys (ranked second in Class 2A) made quite a statement toward repeating as state champion with their performance.

The Tigers finished behind first-place Georgetown of Texas, ranked eighth in the Nike Team National South division, and Sickles, the top-ranked team in 4A but placed 22 points ahead of Miami's Belen Jesuit, the No. 1 team in 2A and the Tigers' main competition for a state title.

"It's nice to know we are capable of beating (Belen Jesuit)," Tigers coach Mike Boza said. "(The result) reaffirms what we are doing. We're into our fourth week of running, and we've had improvement each week. It makes us feel good about where we are headed."

In the process, Jesuit exacted a measure of revenge after a fourth-place showing at the King-USF Cross Country Invitational the week before.

"We finished fourth at USF behind Belen Jesuit, Fort Myers and Winter Park," Boza said. "I was very pleased Friday because we beat all three of those teams."

Jesuit, which won the 2A title in 2004 and 2005, is looking for its first three-peat in the sport. If the Tigers were to accomplish the feat, they would be the first county cross country team to do so.

For the girls, Wharton coach Wes Newton said junior Katrina Skinner should be able to compete in this weekend's FSU Invitational after collapsing in the girls Invitational and being taken to the hospital Friday night.

Skinner, who led the race at the 2-mile mark, fell with about 600 meters to go.

She was taken to University Community Hospital where she was treated and released around 4 a.m. Saturday morning, according to Newton.

"She was overhydrated," he said. "She drank too much water over the course of the day. At that point in the race, she just ran out of energy. She had nothing left in the tank to give. The ambulance driver said that it wasn't absolutely necessary to take her to the hospital, but her mother and I agreed that she should go just as a precautionary measure."

Skinner was neck and neck with Gaither's Katie Quick and Boone High's Brittany Koziara until about a mile remained in the race, but started losing ground before collapsing.

"After the 2-mile (mark), she started to struggle a bit," Newton said. "I don't know how long she ran off of pure guts."

Wharton finished 12th in the event. Had Skinner remained in the top three runners at the finish, the Wildcats would have come in fifth. Quick eventually pulled away to win in 19:04.