To anyone else, Jewell Bolden’s first year at the state track and field meet would be remembered for the two state championships she won in Class 3A as a freshman at Collegiate.
But Bolden is obsessed with winning and while those two titles were goals met, her fifth-place finish in the 200-meter dash left a gaping hole on her to-do list.
So Bolden is back as a sophomore, who will compete Friday at the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Div. IV meet in Andale, and motivated more than she has ever been to win even more at state this time around.
“I feel like I didn’t compete as well as I wanted to do last year,” Bolden said. “I set goals for myself each year for where I want to be and I didn’t reach those goals last year and that was kind of disappointing. So I worked even harder earlier this season to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Bolden is dominant in the 100 hurdles, where she has the fastest fully automatic time in 3A this season at 15.06, and in the long jump, where her top mark of 18-2 is nearly a full foot farther than anyone else in 3A.
She can count on one hand the number of times she has lost in each of those events over the last five years, including the summer circuit where she has been a regional standout for years.
So the focus this season has been working on her sprints, as Bolden plans on running the 100 and 200 at her Class 3A regional meet in Garden Plain on May 22. Her season-best times of 12.48 and 26.69, respectively, rank her among the leaders in 3A, but not at the top.
“In practice last year I kind of slacked off because when I was younger I could slack off and still win,” Bolden said. “I found out the hard way last year that you can’t do that anymore. You have to work hard every day in practice.”
Bolden says she can accept losing, as long as she runs or jumps a personal-best. But there’s no denying she would like to defend her titles this season, and maybe even add one — or two — more to the collection.
“I feel like the state meet does bring out my best,” Bolden said. “When I feel like there is great competition, that’s when I compete harder. It’s just the will to win. I like to win. I like to compete. I just want to be the best.”
Augusta’s Carter peaking — If Augusta sprinter Chaydon Carter has success at the state meet as a senior, he’ll have the May 7 meet at Circle to look back on as the beginning.
That’s when Carter beat Trinity Academy senior Tyler Burns, the defending Class 4A champion in the 100 and runner-up in the 200, in the 100 and 200. It was the first time Carter had raced against Burns this season, which gives him confidence for inevitable run-ins down the road at regionals and the state meet.
“I felt like I ran my best races, so that gave me the confidence I could run with anybody now,” Carter said.
Carter has been on the radar for top sprinters in 4A for three seasons now. He’s qualified in the 100 for state two years in a row and placed sixth last season in the 100, while also qualifying in the 200.
But this season Carter, who is signed to play football at Butler next season, has taken off in his races. He has won four of his six 100 races and was runner-up in the other two, while running his season-best time of 11.04 in Circle — a full tenth faster than Burns.
Carter also edged Burns by a tenth in the 200 in a season-best time of 22.74.
“Last meet was the first time I adjusted my blocks,” Carter said. “I moved my back foot closer and it felt a lot better. When that gun went off, I felt like my reaction time was a lot better. It felt like a perfect start.”
While he is looking to improve on his place at the state meet, Carter said he has just one goal left in high school: break 11 seconds in the 100.
“That’s my main goal right now,” Carter said. “I feel like I’m starting to peak at the right time. I almost did it at the Circle meet, so I think I can do it.”
Carter will compete in the AV-CTL Div. III meet hosted in Rose Hill on Friday.
City League hurdles heat up — The City League promises to host some of the most competitive boys hurdles races in the state Friday at Northwest.
The league boasts Bishop Carroll’s Josh Hornback (season-best time of 14.51 in tlhe 110 hurdles), Heights’ Creighton Sanders (14.60), South’s Kaden Griffin (14.89), North’s Xander Williams (15.15), and Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Colter Hullings (15.28).
“Those are going to be awful good races,” North coach Tyrone Galbreath said. “There are some really good kids in the city. All of those kids know each other and I think any of them have the capability of winning. It’s going to come down to who’s on and who’s not, it’s that tight.”
The 300 hurdles race should also be competitive with Griffin (39.60), Williams (39.73), Hornback (40.26), Carroll’s Gerard Eck (41.40), and Heights’ Cornelius Harris (41.94).
Galbreath thinks Williams has the potential to take both.
“He’s been putting in a lot of time and effort into it,” Galbreath said. “He understands what he needs to get better in and he works on it. I think after placing at state in both, he got the taste of what he could do. Now that’s kind of carried over to this year.”