Jesuit stars at less than full strength

Published April 24, 2007

TAMPA - As two of Jesuit's spring sports teams prepare for state competition this week, it's tough to ascertain which is flowing more vigorously in the Tigers' camp: adrenaline or venom.

To a small degree, seniors Mark Wilkie and Hunter Clasen - the respective stars of Jesuit's tennis and track teams - appear snake-bitten as they gear up for their biggest challenges of the season.

Wilkie, whose team begins play this morning in the Class 2A tournament at Hillsborough Community College, is nursing a mysterious back ailment that essentially kept him sidelined for the district and region tournaments.

The Tigers' No. 1 singles player, Wilkie played one game in each of the previous two tournaments before retiring, but coach Joe Curtis said Monday his four-year starter is "feeling a little bit better."

Test results on the back, Curtis said, have been "sketchy."

"From here on out, it will be a matter of how much pain he can deal with," Curtis said. "He's had a lot of rest."

Clasen, meantime, remains "day to day" with an injured left hip flexor sustained during the 200-meter finals at Friday's Class 2A, Region 3 meet at Frostproof, coach Ray Rodriguez said.

The defending 2A champion in the 400 meters, Clasen pulled up shortly after being passed on the inside by Zephyrhills senior Sederrik Cunningham, who won.

Clasen, who won the 400 and ran on the state-qualifying 4x800-relay team at the region meet, wasn't scheduled to work out Monday. The Class 2A meet is Saturday in Winter Park.

"He seems to be doing a lot better. He hasn't tried running on it yet," Rodriguez said.

"He's not visibly limping at all, he's not having very much trouble walking. I think he seems fine. Until he actually starts to move around and run, we'll see how it goes."

Joey Knight can be reached at 813 226-3350 or jknight@sptimes.com.