“Since before practice started at the beginning of the season, our coaches drill that in to our heads (winning conference),” Starkey said. “Our coach drills conference in to our heads and then after that we don’t even look back and it is about district.”
Wolf echoed Starkey’s thoughts.
“It comes down to the team because that is what our coach emphasizes is conference championship every year,” Wolf said. “I just feel like it is a huge role (for me) since I am a captain. I try to do the best I can to get us points.”
Wolf did just that as he picked up the Bolivar boys’ first gold medal of the day with a win in the discus. His throw of 132-feet-8-inches was almost two feet better than his teammate Michael Modesett’s second-place throw.
Wolf then got on the track to run the 100-meter dash where he was favored to win, but he had trouble early in the race.
“I had a terrible start,” Wolf said. “I thought ‘Oh gosh, I have some ground to catch up.’”
Wolf made up the time and more as he won the race in 11.41 seconds. Teammate Rafe Peavey was second in a time of 11.85.
Just minutes later, Wolf ran the third leg on the championship 800-meter relay squad that posted a time of 1:33.11. The time is the best for the relay this season and the sixth-fastest in Southwest Missouri this year.
The four runners (Wolf, Starkey, Peavey and sophomore Zach Crites) got together one more time for the 400-meter relay that the Liberators took in a time of 44.30, more than a second-and-a-half better than second-place Marshfield.
While Wolf’s day was done after the second relay, Starkey’s day was just beginning as he stepped to the starting line for the 400-meter dash just minutes later. He was heavily favored to win the race, but Marshfield’s Cole Burchfield gave him all he could handle until Starkey dug deep down the homestretch.
“I had in my mind that I can’t get passed. I can’t be in the lead by this much and then get passed at the very end,” Starkey said.
He would finish in a time of 50.26, just ahead of Burchfield’s 50.70. Starkey rounded out his day with a win in the 200-meter dash to make it four gold medals for both he and Wolf.
The Bolivar girls won six gold medals at the meet, but it was their depth that shined through the brightest to account for the 200-plus point effort.
“We are deep. We are solid all the way through,” Bolivar coach Vicki Newcomb said. “This, in 19 years of coaching, I believe is the best girls’ team that I have ever had as a whole group. We are just solid and everybody knows their job and they are just getting it done.”
The Lady Liberators won gold in three relays (400, 800 and 3200 relays) along with three first-place finishes in the field from Faith Harris in the triple jump, Allie Burlison in the pole vault and Daiwa Emmert in the high jump. Bolivar swept the top three places in the high jump.
The win as a team also clinched the COC Small All-Sports Award for the girls of Bolivar. The award encompasses each sport for the entire year. A first place finish in the conference in each sport equals one point while a last place finish would be seven. The lowest score at the end of the season wins the award.
“We update our kids on it (the all sports award) from season to season,” Newcomb said. “Come to the spring there are two sports. We were behind by one coming in (to the spring) and the soccer team a week ago tied us. We have talked about it for a couple weeks now just for school pride.”
Catholic’s Erin Roebuck had a banner day by sweeping gold in the 100, 200 and 400 and anchoring the 1600 relay team to an exciting come-from-behind victory in a time of 4:13.93. That time is the second-best in Southwest Missouri this season.
Roebuck, a known runner in the 200 and 400, just recently took up running the 100 again.
“I haven’t run 100 since freshman year. Just getting back in to it has been fun, but it has been a process,” Roebuck said. “My coach wants to see if I can get the school record.”
That push for the record was made a little tougher after Hollister sprinting star, and Roebuck’s primary competition, Hannah Smith scratched from the meet with a strained quad. Smith gutted it out and won the long jump with a leap of 15’10.5, but that jump was almost two feet shorter than her season-best.
“I honestly was looking forward to racing her because she is very well known and she would have pushed me,” Roebuck said.
Smith is looking to be back in time for the district meet this Saturday.
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