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Tioga County Sports Report
VERONA, N.Y. — Owego cross country standout Jace Stuart was well on his way to winning a Section IV Class C individual title Nov. 3 when he collapsed less than 100 meters from the finish line.

He was holding a commanding lead over the rest of the field when he suffered a significant medical emergency. Stuart didn’t give up, however, and finished the race in 22nd place.

He did not count in the team scoring and Oneonta edged Owego, 47-48, for the team championship. The score would have been 39-52 in the Indians’ favor otherwise.

Stuart was transported to the pediatric ICU at Geisinger hospital until Sunday and the medical condition left him with reduced kidney function that he is still recovering from, according to Owego coach John Heath.

“He is expected to make a full recovery and should be able to return to running sometime in the future,” Heath said.

Stuart’s effort and his dedication to the sport have not gone unnoticed. At Saturday’s state championships, he will be recognized as the Section IV Boys Class C Sportsmanship recipient.

“This is the first time that I know that a runner not racing at states will receive this award,” Heath said.

Stuart was projected to finish in the top 10 of the state championship race, according to his coach.

A senior, he most likely would have been a four-time state qualifier had misfortune not affected his state medal quest.

He qualified for states as a freshman in 2019 when the Indians went as a team. He placed 57th overall and was the No. 6 man for Owego.

In 2020, NYSPHSAA chose to cancel all state championship events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, he suffered an injury and although he returned in time to compete at sectionals, he was not yet 100 percent. He placed 26th as the Indians’ sixth runner. Lansing nipped Owego for the team title by three points.

Tickets are only available online and can be purchased at Prices are $11.50 per car which covers the entire day of competition. The event will be streamed on the NFHS Network via MileSplit, the official broadcasting partner of the NYSPHSAA State Championships.

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