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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
TAMPA - Observers at Tuesday evening's King Invitational couldn't help but chuckle in amazement as Freedom's Javier Beuzeville approached the finish line of the Trout Creek Park course - for what seemed like the 10th time.
That kid hasn't stopped running since he got here.
I think he ran the course before the race.
Beuzeville, Freedom's resident world-class triathlete, confirmed his warmup was longer than the actual race, which he easily won against a modestly strong field in 17:27.
"I think I probably did about 5 miles before the race started," he said.
What may seem nuts to some is the norm for Beuzeville, who placed second in the 18-19 age group at last month's International Triathlon Union World Championships in Switzerland.
On a typical week of training, the diminutive (5-foot-5, 135 pounds) senior estimates he'll pedal 350 miles on the bike, spend at least 10 hours in the pool and run around 35 miles, often starting his day around the same time Jon Gruden is pulling into One Buc Place.
"I love it, man," said Beuzeville, who became hooked on the sport while watching the Ironman Triathlon on television and entered his first mini-triathlon two years ago in Land O'Lakes. "It's the greatest sport in the world."
Tuesday's effort betrayed his triathlon-level stamina. In only his third cross country race of the season, Beuzeville won by 44 seconds on a daunting course that began with a grassy stretch at the base of a steep embankment and included a gradual climb back to the top.
"The grass was pretty high over there, and it wasn't too level," said Beuzeville, second in his other two races. "And with the wind hitting you, you had to work so much power, so it was pretty rough."
Though enjoying what he calls his triathlon "offseason," Beuzeville said he continues biking and swimming almost daily and won't focus exclusively on running even as the cross country postseason approaches.
Nonetheless, he intends to make a run for an individual berth in the Class 3A meet.
"I've learned that you've kind of got to listen to how you feel mentally and physically," he said. "If I feel like really going at (a state medal), absolutely."
FIRST FOR THIES: Four days after a solid showing (20:09) at the elite Race of Champions at the flrunners.com Invitational, Brandon senior Megan Thies won the first prep race of her career with a 21:05 finish at the King Invitational.
Thies, the Eagles' No. 1 runner, finished 14 seconds ahead of Bloomingdale's Janelle Karlen. "I did pretty good in last week's race and that helped my confidence a little bit," Thies said. "So I just decided I was going to go out and try to take the lead from the start."
ODDS AND ENDS: Plant junior Brigithe Moreno was one of only four girls to break the 18-minute mark at last week's flrunners.com Invitational. Competing in the elite Race of Champions, Moreno finished fourth in 17:59.49. The race's winner, Wellington sophomore Ashley Brasovan, set a meet and Ed Radice Park course record (16:41.42). ... Bloomingdale's girls (37 points) and Chamberlain's boys (47) were the team winners at the King Invitational. The Chiefs had three underclassmen - sophomores Chase Nelson and Charles Toledo, and freshman Mark Parrish - place in the top 10. ... The Millard Schumate Invitational is set for today at 5 p.m. at Picnic Island Park. Fourteen county teams are slated to compete.