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Top five propel Jesuit to 2A title

By KEITH NIEBUHR

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 19, 2000


TITUSVILLE -- It wasn't quality nor quantity that carried Jesuit to the Class 2A state cross country title at Brevard Community College.

It was both.

Behind five top-30 finishes, the Tigers finished with 106 points to claim their second title in three years.

Miami Belen Jesuit was second with 111 points followed by Orlando Bishop Moore and Citrus, the team many figured would give Jesuit the most trouble.

"I'm very happy with them," Jesuit coach Mike Boza said. "This is the most cohesive team I've ever had. Running the way they did, I would have been happy with any place."

Jesuit was led by the 19th-place finish of Colin Strickland.

He was followed by John Astrab (20th), Sebring Sierra (23rd), Kevin Carranza (26th) and Matt Bishoff (30th).

All five ran the 3-mile course in less than 16 minutes, 30 seconds, which was one of the Tigers' goals.

"At the beginning of the year, we said we needed to get five runners in at 16:30 or better, and they did it," Boza said. "They ran with a lot of guts."

Jesuit entered the race ranked No. 1 in 2A by flrunners.com. Citrus was No. 2

"I thought our kids ran their hearts out," Citrus coach Bruce Nelson said. "They did everything they could. Jesuit is just a better team."

The Hurricanes were hurt by a shin injury to their No. 4 runner, C.J. Bryant, and didn't get any production from their fifth, sixth or seventh runners. Had only the top four runners counted, Citrus would have won.

Jesuit won the state title in 1998 but slumped to a ninth-place finish last season.

"I dreamt about this moment last night," Astrab said. "This is what we have been working so hard for."

CLASS A: Defending individual champ Rolf Steier added another trophy to his collection by winning in 15:10, well ahead of the pack.

"There was some tough competition. The course was pretty sandy, and the wind was strong," Steier said.

"I was happy. I was a little nervous before the race because I knew the other guys were good, but I looked forward to winning and was relieved that I did."

Behind Steier, a junior, Berkeley Prep finished fourth. Tallahassee Maclay, which had four runners in the top 10, won. Andy Biladeau added to the Berkeley Prep effort with a 26th-place finish.

CLASS 3A: Jacksonville Bishop Kenny claimed its fourth title while Wharton finished 13th and Plant 15th.

Nathan Adams of Chamberlain, who finished 20th in 16:07, was the top local runner. Justin Bass of Plant finished 38th. Andrew Fulton led Wharton with a 48th-place finish.

CLASS 4A: Bloomingdale placed three runners in the top 50 to finish fifth with 202 points, 88 points behind first-place Winter Park. Sickles, led by the ninth-place finish of Daniel Doromal, was 13th.

Adam Sisler of Sickles, who was 19th, had the area's second-best finish.

The Bloomingdale effort was spearheaded by Travis Morris, who finished 27th, and Gerrit Beko, who was 39th. Ray Gossage finished 49th, and Jeff Rodriguez was 59th.

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