Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cross country: Robinson's Rogers finds groove in nick of time

TAMPA — His next scheduled performance was less than two hours away, and Jack Rogers had no soundtrack.

For this lanky Robinson junior, listening to the blues-based hard-rock anthems of AC/DC had become as much of a prerace ritual as lacing his shoes. But he found his iPod on the fritz as the West Hillsborough Invitational drew near.

"I was like, 'I don't have any (AC/DC) on my iPod,' " said teammate Blake Stanford, who drove Rogers to the meet in his 2007 Saturn Ion. "And then we flipped through the (radio) channels."

That's when fate reared its head. Or more specifically, banged it.

On a classic rock station, an AC/DC twin bill — Shoot to Thrill and Hell's Bells — was blaring. Shortly thereafter, Rogers was outkicking Plant's Jack Guyton down the final grassy stretch to narrowly win the boys race in 17 minutes, 6.53 seconds.

"You can't find a better song to pump you up; AC/DC's the best," said Rogers, fifth in the 800 meters at last spring's Class 2A state meet. "It was perfect."

While Rogers sought music, others longed for a map on this searing September afternoon. A redesigned course had several competitors losing their way among the stretches of thick grass, trees and gravel around Al Lopez Park.

Sickles junior Abigail Grant won the girls race in a time (21:01.46) made deceptively slower by some rough navigation. Grant said an errant turn into trees by some runners led to a dead end; at another juncture, she crossed the wrong bridge.

"We took three wrong turns," said Grant, who nonetheless led essentially wire to wire and finished roughly 40 meters ahead of runnerup Maddy Hull of Robinson (21:08.56). "It was crazy."

The Knights girls, seeking the program's first district title this season, placed five runners in the top 18 to capture the team crown (41). Private school power Academy of the Holy Names didn't compete, and local heavyweight Plant didn't run its varsity girls.

In the boys race, Plant put four runners in the top 10 for 40 points, giving new coach Bryan Garcia his first team victory.

Cross country: Robinson's Rogers finds groove in nick of time 09/10/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kevin Cash: 'We've got to turn it around. ... Time is of the essence'


    The question to manager Kevin Cash was about a rematch with the Mariners this weekend at the Trop, but he made clear this afternoon that with his Rays losing nine of their last 12 that they have to treat every game as essential.

    "We've got to start playing good baseball games whether we match up well against that team or not," Kevin Cash said.
  2. Lightning wing J.T. Brown on why he donated to remove Confederate statue


    Lightning wing J.T. Brown was back in his Minneapolis offseason home over the weekend when he saw on TV the violent protests in Charlottesville over the removal of a Confederate statue.

    J.T. Brown decided to get involved, donating $1,500 to assist in removing a Confederate statue in Tampa.
  3. Rays, Bucs and Lightning join Dungy in donating to move Confederate monument


    The Tampa Bay area's three major league sports teams have pledged their financial support in moving a Confederate monument out of downtown Tampa.

    Tony Dungy in 2011. [Getty]
  4. Tim Tebow came into their life, and never left


    There are a lot of stories about Tim Tebow connecting with people during his life, Tebow inspiring them and Tebow being inspired.

    Boomer Hornbeck of Naples, Fla., has battled cerebral palsy and undergone surgery after surgery in the hopes of allowing him to one day walk. Inspired by Tim Tebow, and encouraged by his relationship with him, Hornbeck has become a motivational speaker.
  5. For starters: Rays at Jays, with Longoria moved to No. 2 spot in order


    UPDATE, 3:10: Cash said the change was made primarily for two reasons, to change the look for several of the hitters and to get back to alternating lefty and righty hitters to make it tougher for opposing managers to match up relievers. Cash said he plans to stick with this structure for a while but doesn't …

    Evan Longoria was moved from his usual No. 3 spot in the batting order up to second.