When Jewell Bolden was in the eighth grade, she told her father she was going to win six state championships in high school.
She ended up being wrong.
She won seven.
Bolden, from Andover Central, added the final two of her career on Saturday at the Kansas track and field championships, matching, then surpassing her promise by winning the Class 4A girls 100-meter hurdles and long jump.
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Not only did Bolden win her fourth straight title in the 100 hurdles, but she ran a personal-best time of 14.27 seconds that broke the 34-year-old meet record set by Ellsworth’s Shawnee Call. It was also concluded an undefeated career in the event against Kansas competition.
“This is what I always envisioned doing,” Bolden said. “It feels amazing to be able to do what I said I was going to do back in eighth grade. I didn’t know if I was ever going to get that meet record or not, but I’m really happy I did.”
No one at the state meet had ever come within three tenths of a second of Bolden in the 100 hurdles, which hasn’t pushed her physically or mentally to achieving her best.
That changed this year, when McPherson freshman Emma Ruddle came through with a faster qualifying time than Bolden on Friday.
Bolden has never been beat, so that gave her all the motivation she needed for Saturday. Competition always brought out the best in his daughter, according to Jimmy Bolden, her father.
“The more chance she has at losing, the more focused she becomes,” Jimmy said. “I love that about her. She wants the crowd. She wants the light. She wants all eyes on her. That’s when she’s at her best.”
Bolden is still searching for an entirely clean race, but Saturday’s came as close as she’s even been to getting over every hurdle without a nick.
She had to because Ruddle was right behind her. They ran the two fastest times in Kansas this season, as Bolden’s time of 14.27 was the 11th all-time and Ruddle’s time of 14.39 was 15th.
“I was actually glad to see someone run faster than me (Friday),” Bolden said. “I haven’t really had much competition at state. I feel like I run a lot faster when I do, so I was glad.”
Bolden won the long-jump competition with a leap of 18 feet, 7 inches. Bolden pushed her personal-best mark out to 19-4 and leaves with the No. 15 mark in Kansas history.
“It’s been a blessing and a pleasure to watch Jewell,” Jimmy Bolden said. “She’s worked so hard for so long. She deserves it. What a great way to go out her senior year.”
Earlier this week, Jewell Bolden signed her letter of intent to continue her track and field career at Southern Illinois.
She’s ecstatic for the opportunity, but a part of her will miss the memories she’s had inside Cessna Stadium.
“It has kind of sunk in that high school track is over,” Bolden said. “I know I’m going to miss it, even though I’m excited for the future. This was a lot of fun.”