Partway through his race at the Richard Clark SWCCCA high school cross country meet Saturday, Sept. 5, Bolivar senior Hunter Davis said his head started pounding.
“I just wasn’t having a good race,” he said. “I slowed down quite a bit when that happened.”
Through the fray of the 5K, Davis said, he looked around, finding teammate and fellow senior Brett Pollock, who had circled by to encourage him to run on.
“I think that really helped me stick it out as much as I did,” Davis said. “I think I would have dropped off much sooner if it wasn’t for that.”
The Liberators stayed unified to finish fourth at their home meet with 220 points. Winner Kickapoo had 77.
Junior Cale Thiessen led the Liberators with 14th place, finishing in 16:42.68. Senior Ethan Billingslea took 17th in 16:49.66. Pollock was 67th in 18:05.35, while Bo Davis was 71st in 18:10.46. Hunter Davis rounded out Bolivar’s scoring contingent with a 75th place finish in 18:15.45.
Pleasant Hope’s Zane Hull was 24th in 16:57.27.
Humansville’s Nate Lyon was 278th in 25:00.07.
Pollock said the Liberators’ strategy of “packing” together was planned before the race.
“Our main focus this year is the team and just getting as far as we can,” he said. “We want to go to state and hopefully trophy for a third time.”
That’s important, Billingslea, a senior, pointed out, not just to end their high school careers on a high note, but also to set a good example for their younger teammates.
“We have a focus on bringing up the younger kids this year,” he said. “We have a young team this year.”
Despite seeing several of their teammates out of the early season due to COVID-19 quarantines, Pollock said the group’s goal has been to keep building.
“There are a lot of questions this year and a lot we don't know, so we’re trying to help our team work through that and get better no matter what happens,” he said. “No matter what happens, we’re trying to keep our team as normal as possible.”
Lady Libs 9th in home meet
Bolivar seniors Emily Bandy and Cora Stimpson ran together and finished just apart Saturday, with Stimpson claiming 18th in 20:35.03 and Bandy 21st in 20:47.88.
The Lady Liberators finished ninth as a team.
While she didn’t do as well as she’d hoped, Stimpson said it was good to get the jitters out, having not raced at a high school meet since last year’s state championship meet.
“I feel like it went pretty well,” she said. “l was expecting to be a lot faster because of not having track season and having such a strong base, but I think that will pay off more in the end. I think we were a little off just because it was our first race.”
“We were so prepared because we had so much base that we were just expecting to come in really good and really fast, and we didn’t,” she said. “It was still a nice first run. I thought we all did pretty well. It was hot. Our times just weren’t where we wanted them.”
McKenzie Noot was the third Lady Liberator to finish, claiming 50th in 22:35.87. Sierra Fox was 95th in 23:59.61.
Claire Giglio was 162nd in 26:54.89.
Pleasant Hope’s Illandria Shuler was 75th in 23:11.36.
Two Humansville runners also opened their seasons at the meet — Tabitha Davis finished 202nd in 32.40.61, and Bailey Willard was 212th in 41:10.38.
While the Lady Liberators aren’t always able to execute a packing strategy, Stimpson said the objective doesn’t change.
“Whether we're packing or not, whatever we’re doing is always for the team,” she said. “Even when I feel like I'm alone on the course, I always have Emily or someone to run with and run for.”
MCE hits Fellows Lake
Five Marion C. Early High School runners opened their seasons at the Fellows Lake Invitational on Saturday.
Gavin Duchscherer garnered his team’s top result, claiming ninth in the boys’ race in 18:33.00. Landen Duchscherer was 25th in 20:12.40.
In the girls’ race, Libby Painter 14th in 24:59. Hanna Williams was 43rd in 29:13.50, and Kylie Maxwell was 42nd in 32:01.20.