Jesuit tops star-filled field

Racing against the best runners in the state, five Tigers lead their team to a first-place finish.

By JOE SMITH, Times Staff Writer
Published September 30, 2007

TAMPA - As Jesuit junior Connor Revord stretched across the finish line Saturday night, fireworks lit up the nearby night sky.

Little did he know that the excitement was far from over.

Revord had tried to catch Godby's undefeated senior Joe Franklin in the prestigious Stars race of the Southern Stars mega meet at Ed Radice Park. The star-studded race featured 10 of the 13 Florida runners who have broken the 16 minute, 20 second barrier this season.

Revord took second in 15:38 - 11 seconds behind Franklin. But it was the Tigers runners behind Revord - his teammates - who stole the show and captured the team title in dramatic fashion.

The Tigers broke a 158-158 tie with Bishop Kenny with its cumulative team-time, which was 15 seconds faster. Jesuit's top five - which included Jordan Schilit, Matt Tucker, Logan Trimble and Ben Martin - packed it in to perfection, each breaking 17:13 with four below 17.

In the same race, Plant was 14th, led by Trenor Wilkins (26th, 16:35).

"A lot of teams have one or two guys, and others trying to work their way up," said Chamberlain sophomore Mark Parrish, who finished seventh at 16:06. "But Jesuit has such a strong (core) of five, it's amazing to see what they do."

The action-packed meet was filled with standout performances - and surprises.

One not-so-surprising showing was that of Wellington's Ashley Brasovan (16:43), who whipped a talented field that included 12 of the top 20 teams in the state (regardless of class).

"If you finish in the top 10 of that race, it's like winning a state championship," Wharton coach Wes Newton said.

The Wildcats, sparked by senior Katrina Skinner (16th, 19:06), came close, finishing in 12th place; Berkeley Prep took 19th. Plant's girls, fueled by freshman Lizzie Goodwin (12th, 20:31), took third in the Prime Time race; Newsome took seventh.

The closest race was a photo-finish. Newsome junior Keegan Bixler (16:26) used his trademark kick to win by a nose over Cypress Bay's Eric Dansky (16:26), shattering his personal-best by 30 seconds.

There were twists. Sickles coach Jim Zander chose to place his highly touted boys in the junior varsity race. He said they weren't performing at the desired level, and he wants to rest them for next week's Flrunners.com Invitational.

"Florida has so much great cross-country talent," Revord said. "To put on a meet like this at a place like this, it's pretty unbelievable."

Joe Smith can be reached at (813) 310-9024 or joesmith@sptimes.com.


Three stars

Keegan Bixler, Newsome: In a photo-finish, the junior's infamous kick gave him a thrilling victory in the Prime Time race; his 16:26 was 30 ticks faster than his top time.

Brooks Wells, Gaither: The senior shattered his personal-best by 30 seconds, finishing 30th in the Stars race with a time of 16:39.

Katrina Skinner, Wharton: Last week, the senior's eyes were swollen shut due to allergies, forcing her to miss FSU meet. On Saturday, Skinner continued to show postseason form with a 12th-place finish in 19:06 in the Stars race.