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)


Wildcats' Pleasant still strong to the finish

“I like the challenges. I need to be pushed; push me and I can do great things,” Wesley Chapel’s Jasmine Pleasant says.


“I like the challenges. I need to be pushed; push me and I can do great things,” Wesley Chapel’s Jasmine Pleasant says.

WESLEY CHAPEL — If it weren't her last name, it would be the perfect nickname.


Always friendly, a bit charming and even limping around with a slight muscle pull, happy.

Jasmine Pleasant is definitely that.

"I'll remember her smile more than anything else," coach Kristi Frye said.

It's some smile, because Pleasant has given her coach much more to remember than that.

Thursday night at the district meet, she won the 100 meters (again) and the 200 (again) and made up a deficit on the final leg of the 4x100 to win (yep, again).

It was the kind of speedy consistency for which Pleasant has become well-known.

Since stepping onto the track at Wesley Chapel, she has been a force, starting slow but always finishing strong.

Unbeaten in Pasco County in the 100 and 200 the past two seasons (with Sunshine Athletic Conference and district championships emphasizing the point) and the kind of anchor on the 4x100 that can cover for slower teammates when needed, Pleasant has been money.

And to think that after last season, she contemplated cashing out.

It was during a photo shoot at a park in Land O'Lakes, while munching on a cheeseburger, that she revealed her track career might be over.

"Are you crazy?" said Zephyrhills' Sederrik Cunningham, whose speed had helped get him a college scholarship.

Not crazy. Just confused. Truth is, Pleasant wasn't sure she wanted to run in college, so why not just quit now and try something else?

Frye told Pleasant to worry about running in college when she, well, got to college. But stop now, in high school, to toss away doing what you're best at for your senior year, a year you'll never get back?

Come to think of it, maybe Cunningham was asking the right question.

"I don't know. I just felt like I was going to be alone," Pleasant said. "All the girls I had been running with had graduated. I felt like it was just me. I think I was scared."

Pleasant was inundated with dissenting voices. Eventually, Mom got through.

"She said when God blesses you with a talent, you use it," Pleasant said.

Confessing to being "lazy" in practice, Pleasant recommitted to the sport and feels like she has fallen in love with it all over again. She has become a team leader, trying to infect others with her renewed enthusiasm and work ethic.

"You know how it is, when you imagine not having something, you don't know what you had," she said.

Instead of always coming in last during the team's 500-meter training runs, Pleasant decided she'd run at the front this year. Those friends who left? She decided to replace them, helping the younger runners.

"You could tell when the season started, she was ahead of where she was last year," Frye said.

Next year, Pleasant will try to walk on at the University of North Florida.

She tweaked her left leg in a hard-fought win in the 4x100 on Thursday night, and afterward she limped around the infield.

She knows bigger challengers and faster runners await in the coming weeks, but she plans to make it back to state for a fourth straight year.

"I like the challenges. I need to be pushed; push me and I can do great things," she said, and then looking down at her sore leg, added "even if I have to limp the whole way at state, I'm finishing. I'm going to finish."

Then it was off to a victory lap with her teammates, and despite the soreness, she tried to stay where she always seems to be.

In front and smiling.

John C. Cotey can be reached at (813) 909-4612 or

On the Web

Have a question for one of our prep writers? Want to sound off in response to one of our county-by-county writers' blogs? Nominate Top Performers for the month? For this and more, check out our high school sports blog at

Send us your photos

Have a great photo from a game that you'd like to share with online readers? Take a picture or video and e-mail it to Your subject line becomes the title of the photo and the body of your message becomes the caption. Photo

galleries will be linked from

high school sports page on

Wildcats' Pleasant still strong to the finish 04/18/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 18, 2008 6:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Blue Jays

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman laughs after Houston Astros' Carlos Beltran reached first on an infield single during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
  2. For starters: Rays vs. Blue Jays: Looking to make it 2 in a row


    UPDATE, 5:52: Cash said the off-day should have done the Rays good after losing 12 of their last 16 games and 20 of their last 30, with just one day off in that stretch:

    Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays.
  3. Commissioner Manfred to visit Trop Wednesday for Rays-Blue Jays


    Commissioner Rob Manfred is slated to be at the Trop on Wednesday.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred is slated to be at the Trop on Wednesday.
  4. Bucs running back's gamble pays off for his mom


    TAMPA — When Peyton Barber decided to leave Auburn after his sophomore year, with only one season as a starting running back, it was a risky decision, one he hoped would let him help out his family back home in suburban Atlanta.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber (43) takes the field with an American flag before a preseason game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  5. Armwood vs. Tampa Bay Tech teeming with Division I-A talent


    Armwood High School strong safety Caleb Sutherland (18) breaks a tackle to score a pick-six during the Spring Football Jamboree in Seffner, Fla. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.