Prior to Jovi Kuskie winning the 2021 3A cross country state championship, the last Buckaroo runner to accomplish that feat was Felicia George (now Felicia Richardson) in 2005.
After Kuskie won the state title, Richardson reached out to congratulate her on the accomplishment.
“The timing was perfect and I kinda think I needed it,” she told Kuskie.
“(It) took me back to 2005 at Rancho San Rafael and I can remember the whole race and I can definitely remember crossing that finish line first and everything I worked for paying off and (the) realization that I did it.”
She told Kuskie she understood the hard work that goes into this accomplishment.
“You can use the mindset it took to get yourself there throughout your entire life,” she said. “You can look back on this day and remember how hard you pushed yourself to accomplish the goals and this dream you set for yourself! Through all the ups and downs and uncontrollable situations: you did it. You never gave up and you walked away with that title you wanted so bad.”
Both runners took similar paths to winning their state titles.
Richardson was the state runner-up in 2004 and Kuskie was the state runner-up in 2019. There was no state meet in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.
Richardson was recently diagnosed with EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) a connective tissue auto immune disease. She also has gastroparesis.
She was likely fighting the disease when she was a child and when she was running cross country and track at Lowry.
Richrdson added that it was difficult to run on race day and get her body in race form to compete.
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that affect a person’s connective tissues — primarily skin, joints and blood vessel walls.
Connective tissue is a complex mixture of proteins and other substances that provide strength and elasticity to the underlying structures in the body.
People who have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome usually have overly flexible joints and stretchy, fragile skin.
This can become a problem if the person has a wound that requires stitches, because the skin often isn’t strong enough to hold them.
There are fewer than 20,000 cases a year of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Richardson now spends her time as a stay-at-home mom, home-schooling her freshman son.
She, along with her husband and son, spend a lot of time on the motocross circuit throughout Nevada and California.
Kuskie is now in basketball season with the Lowry girls and will run track in the spring to close out her high school career.
Kuskie is currently looking at colleges around the area with her top pick as Idaho State. She has also visited the College of Idaho. .