Bolivar senior Anna Bandy crossed the finish line after 2 miles at the Class 4 state track meet at Washington High School Saturday, May 25, and immediately dropped to her hands and knees, gasping for air. 

“I literally had nothing left,” Bandy said after taking fifth in the girls’ 3,200-meter run. An official helped the runner to a shaded tent. 

It was the senior’s first time qualifying for state as an individual, she said. Her father, Ron Bandy, is a Bolivar track coach. 

“My dad is my coach and he’s like, ‘I know you can do it. You’ve just got to believe in yourself,’”  she said. “It was really hard, and a couple of moments there I thought I was going to give up, but I told myself I was going to be all state. That was my goal, and I wasn’t going to accept anything less.”

Bandy crossed the line in 11:42.03, a personal best, Bolivar coach Vicki Newcomb said. The two had talked about their goals for the race beforehand, Newcomb said. 

She said, ‘Today’s the day, coach. Today’s the day. I’m going to be all state in that 3,200,” Newcomb said.

“It was pretty special to watch.”

Lady Liberator 4-x-400 runs with sub

With the girls’ 4-x-400-meter relay looming Saturday, May 25, at the Class 4 state track meet at Washington High School, Newcomb made a tough call. 

Bolivar runner Mackenzie Duncan, a state qualifier in four events — the 4-x-800 relay, the 1,600 and 800 runs and the 4-x-400 relay — was dealing with the effects of a sinus infection. 

After watching the sophomore run earlier in the day, Newcomb had Emme Hall line up with the team’s 4-x-400. 

“We ran a four-second personal record and Emme Hall ran our fastest split,” Newcomb said.

Alice Meadows, Sarah Green and Trinity Williamson ran the relay’s other legs. The group finished in 4:12.54 to finish 12th after entering as the 18th seed.

Hall, Newcomb said, entered the event with experience as a hurdler. 

“I told her the 4-x-400 is just like the 300 hurdles, but without the hurdles,” she said. “It just a little bit longer, but it’s going to hurt the same.”

Hall said she’d been nervous slotting into the relay, but her teammates encouraged her. 

“I’ve only run a 4x4 once in my life, and it was in a JV track meet,” she said. “I just got thrown in here last minute. It was scary, but they made me feel good about it.”

Duncan 13th in 800, 16th in 1,600

Despite dealing with the sinus infection, Duncan said she’d been excited to run at the state meet. 

“Going into it, I was a little nervous,” she said, “but I was excited to get out there and go, because I’ve been feeling better.”

In the 1,600 run, the sophomore said she’d felt strong in the first lap, but struggled with the remaining portion of the race. She finished 16th in 5:49.14. 

In the 800, Duncan said she’d felt stronger initially but wasn’t able to gain separation from the pack where she typically could. 

“On the first lap, I went into it with that first pack,” she said. “Usually I try and move on the back stretch, so I took my deep breath and tried to go, but nothing was there, so I fought for it. I was close to my PR, so I’m happy with that.

“I tried to keep going,” she said “I left it all out there. That felt good to know that I did my best and whatever happens happens.”

Green seventh in pole vault

Green broke a school pole vault record to clear 11-0 earlier this year and advanced to the state meet after a repeat performance at sectionals. 

Green vaulted 10-6 for seventh at the Class 4 state meet Saturday. She moved to Bolivar from Texas last year and is in her first season with the team.

“I started out not so good (at pole vault),” she said. “Then, I got my PR at 11-0 and districts at 11-0 and sectionals at 11-0, and today I didn’t clear as high as I wanted to.”

Newcomb said the junior will likely continue to clear new heights. 

“We were tickled to death she broke our school record this year at 11 feet,” she said, “and I just have really high expectations for her.”

Williamson breaks minute mark

All season, Newcomb has been telling Trinity Williamson she can break the 1:00 mark in the 400 dash. At Saturday’s state track meet, she finally did it. 

The sophomore ran a 59.54 for seventh in the event. 

“My big thing with her is that it’s got to be in the first 100 (meters),” Newcomb said. “You can get out in the first 100. She got out faster in that first 100 and was able to break the 1:00 mark. So now she knows she can. And she’s a fighter. I love to watch her run the last 100 meters because she will fight.”

Newcomb said the two looked over a list of Williamson’s main competitors in the week before the race, but then had to take a new look at the start sheet after the meet’s schedule and location were changed. 

Williamson said she carried a simple mentality into the race.

“I wanted to try to catch the next person and break into 59,” she said. “I did it, I got them both.”

Lady Liberators 4-x-800 12th

Early in the day, Duncan, Bandy, Meadows and Cora Stimpson teamed up to run 10:12.38 in the 4-x-800 relay. The group finished 12th.

“I think we knew it was a tough race going in, and we went as hard as we could,” Meadows said. 

With Bandy’s three years of experience at the state meet, Meadows said the group looked to her for guidance. 

“She’s a good leader,” Meadows said.

Newcomb said she watched the team give it all.

“We were expecting a little higher than that, but you come to a meet like this you finish it and you know that you ran your best,” she said.

Freshman leads off 4-x-200

Bolivar’s Josie Douglas ran the opening leg of the Lady Liberators’ 4-x-200 relay, which was disqualified following a botched handoff. 

Rayna Cochran, Hall and Williamson ran the event’s other legs. 

Despite the end result, Newcomb said team would have likely timed to finish 10th, had they scored. 

“We really weren’t expected to get out of sectionals and the girls, they just really worked really hard and peaked at the right time,” Newcomb said.

The coach said the team had changed its strategy for handoffs and also swapped in larger track spikes for the race, which may have thrown them all off. Douglas, she said, performed well for a ninth grader.

“She doesn’t get rattled,” she said. “So having her start the race, we felt she could handle it. She’s very unique as far as freshmen go. She’s the real deal, and she’s going to do some really good things for us over the next three years.”

Douglas said she was proud to earn a trip to state. 

“I’m just happy to be here,” she said. 

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