Pirate can't outrun illness

Boca Ciega's stalwart, senior Lindsey Brooks, is sidelined for a bit by mononucleosis.

Published October 5, 2006

ST. PETERSBURG - Boca Ciega's busy senior, Lindsey Brooks, is used to "going 90 mph," her mother says.

But the team's cross country captain - and one of the top female runners in the county - will have to shut it down for at least two weeks.

Brooks was diagnosed with mononucleosis on Tuesday, just four days after she broke her school record at the flrunners.com Invitational with a time of 20 minutes, 11 seconds. Brooks finished third in the large-school race behind good friend Ali Crabb of Lakewood 19:50.

"She's so broken-hearted, I can't even tell you," her mother, Dru Brooks, said. "Knowing Lindsey, though, she'll be back as fast as she can."

Brooks rose quickly in the Pirates' lineup her freshman year, becoming the team's top runner by the end of the season. This year, Brooks filled an even larger role, especially after the team lost its four top seniors to graduation.

"This puts a huge hole in our lineup," Boca Ciega coach Monte Hoge said. "Lindsey's been carrying us."

Brooks typically carries a hefty burden on her shoulders. The 17-year-old is the school's student government president and editor of the newspaper for the school's medical magnet program. By the evening, she's either going to her dance class (Mondays) or cross country practices and meets.

"I started drinking coffee this year," Brooks joked Monday. "It helps."

Brooks has lamented that her hectic schedule leaves her little or no time for her hobbies, like writing short stories, drawing and sculpting caricatures out of clay; For Christmas, she molded an entire animal nativity scene for her parents.

"She's very, very creative," Dru Brooks said. "She always has been."

On the course, it has been Brooks' natural middle-distance speed and fierce kick that help set her apart. Now, all Hoge & Co. can do is hope for a speedy recovery.

"I guess the busier you are, the more susceptible you are to getting sick," Dru Brooks said. "But Lindsey's sleeping a lot right now, just hoping to get back."


Joe Smith can be reached at (727) 893-8129 or joesmith@sptimes.com.