Bolivar’s Blade Hancock netted a state silver medal in the 300-meter hurdles Saturday, May 25, running a 39.31 at the Class 4 state meet at Washington High School.

It was the junior’s third year racing the event at state and his highest result. 

“To win that race, you have to be on the top shoulder of the guy in the lane to your right at the first corner, and by the second corner you’ve got to be past everyone,” he said. “You’ve got to develop a separation. It’s like those distance events. If you’re developing separation, you’re killing spirits. Nobody’s going to want to race you.”

Hancock, who has dominated nearly every 300-hurdles event he’s entered this year, said he was just off that positioning in the state championship race. 

“I was sitting in second the last corner,” he said. “It was hard, because that guy in first, every time he would kick a hurdle, I would go, ‘This is my time to catch him right now, right now, right now.’ But, every time, he’d snap his legs and sprint just as hard as I was, so he did what I do, got on my shoulder that first corner, developed a separation at the second and then strided it out.”

Hancock, who entered the event seeded second, said he was satisfied with the result but would have reveled in an upset. 

Three of the race’s top 5, including winner Demetrius Clark of Union, are graduating seniors. 

School record split

Hancock was sixth in the 110 hurdles Saturday, running a school record 15.04. 

While he’s been more successful at the 300 hurdles, Hancock said he prefers the 110 event.

“(The 300 is) my best one, but it’s also my least favorite,” he said. “It’s the longest one. The 110 you can finish and your legs feel fine, and you’re not breathing too heavy. But those 300s, you can’t sprint the whole thing. That last 100 is whoever can stride out the furthest.”

The junior said he’d been eyeing the 110 record for at least a year. He’d needed just to lean into the finish line to reach it. 

“That record had been on my mind since sophomore year,” he said. “Last year at sectionals, I got fifth and ran a 15.24, so I didn’t qualify. This year, I placed just as high with basically the same time. All I’ve needed in the cut was the lean. It’s just terrible to know that all you needed was that.”

Bolivar coach Daniel Bayless said the junior broke the team’s oldest record in the 110 hurdles, set in 1981. 

“He ran the fastest he’s ever run in his life,” he said. “He looked smooth at everything. 

“If it was an overcast, cool day, he might have broken another record in the 300, too. That didn’t happen, but this year we took silver, where last year we took fourth, so he’s moving up.”

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