Cole Bullock long has dreamed of running a four-minute mile.
He just never thought he would be this close this soon.
The Red Bank junior awed the crowd with a 1600-meter time of 4:15 at the Little Caesars Individual Track Championships on Thursday at Red Bank High School. The time is the fastest in the state in 2018.
"My goal today was just to break 4:20," said Bullock, who looked like he had gone on a light jog just minutes after his race. "Normally on the third lap I start to die, but today my adrenaline kicked in so I decided to give it all I had."
While Bullock might have had the best individual performance of the day, the boys' hurdles provided the most drama.
The event featured three of the state's fastest hurdlers: Cleveland teammates Eric Parker and Benjedi Casseus and Arts & Science's Brevin Sims. Casseus was the Class AAA state champion in the 110-meter hurdles last year, while Sims won the same title in A/AA. Parker holds the state's fastest time in the event this season.
In a photo finish, Parker beat Sims by 0.01 second with a time of 14.19, while Casseus finished third.
The three faced off again in the 300 hurdles, with Casseus running a 38.42 to barely edge out Sims, who ran a 38.57. Both times beat the previous current fastest times in the state.
Also with a margin of 0.01 second, Baylor's Jackson Collette ran a 2:02.76 to clip Signal Mountain's Jackson Lillard in the 800.
Cleveland's Keegan Jones, arguably the area's fastest man, blew away the competition to win both the 100 (10.75) and 200 (21.95). McCallie's Charlie Winchester won the discus (130-3) and Cleveland's Alex Higgins won the shot put (49-0.75), both in personal bests.
On the girls' side, Arts & Sciences sophomore Alayah Dozier had yet another tremendous meet. Dozier won both the 200 (25.14) and 400 (58.47) and finished third in the 100. She also ran the final leg of the 4x400 relay, bringing her team back to a fifth-place finish.
Signal Mountain's Mattie Parker ran a new personal best to win the 1600 (5:19.74) and followed that by winning the 800 with a time of 2:25.27, beating eighth-grade teammate Tara Jessen and GPS senior Carley Braman by less than a half-second.
Rhea County junior Lesley Green, who finished fourth in the 1600, came back to win the 3200 with a personal best of 11:33.70.
"I prefer running longer distances," said Green, who even has discussed running a marathon at the collegiate level. "I set very high expectations for myself. I love meets like this because they challenge me."
Baylor's JuToreyia Willis won the triple jump (37-1.75), beating the field by nearly seven feet. Other notable champions were Walker Valley's Sophie Frederick (discus), McMinn County's Paige Manney (110 hurdles) and Baylor's Kayla Hayes (300 hurdles), who each posted personal bests.
Contact Kevin Llewallyn at email@example.com