Some athletes have the ability to make it look easy.
“Blade learned how to three step on the 110 [meter] hurdles in one practice, which like never happens,’ said Bolivar Girls Head Coach & Hurdles Coach Vicki Newcomb.
That was proof to never say never about Liberators senior Blade Hancock.
“He’s just tough as nails,” Newcomb said.
His toughness, the natural gift of speed and a lot of hard work turned Hancock into a hurdling machine.
In three seasons, Blade had gone from 11th to 4th to 2nd in the 300-meter hurdles at state, inching closer to the ultimate prize.
“This was supposed to be that special year, so the hurt is that he didn’t get that opportunity,” said Bolivar Boys Head Coach Daniel Bayless.
The opportunity for the gold medal was taken away, along with the chance for more success at Bolivar.
Blade already holds the 110-meter high hurdles school record, and is tied for the high jump school record.
“There are still records on the board that don’t have my name,” Blade said. “And you always get told you can break those next year and then next year doesn’t come and it just sucks.”
“In his best event, he didn’t get the chance to break that record, and we planned on shattering it,” Bayless added.
Instead, like at state, Blade will remain second on Bolivar’s school record board in the 300-meter hurdles.
“To know that he was so close, and look back at the progress that he’s made over the last three years, it’s heartbreaking,” Newcomb said.
But a stopwatch doesn’t tell Blade’s whole story. It’s when he slows down to help his teammates where he makes the biggest impact.
“I will miss Blade because I can say ‘hey we need to show the young kids this, and I’m old now, so I need you to show people how to do this’,” joked Newcomb.
Those are teaching opportunities Blade never turned down. That won’t change much as he moves down the street to run at Southwest Baptist University.
“Oh 100-percent, I’ll probably be here, they probably won’t be able to keep me away,” Blade said.
“We’ll be able to go watch him practice and he can come back and still do drills with my high school kids,” Newcomb added.
Who better to learn from than the best hurdler the Liberators have ever had.