On Saturday, she walked off the track at the UIL state meet as the gold medalist and new record holder in Class 3A.
Bonner left the competition behind in the pole vault, clearing 12 feet to win the event title, then raising the bar to 12-7 and finally clearing 13-0 to set the new 3A state meet and Central Texas record.
Bonner won gold by 1 foot, 6 inches over Chelsea Truitt of Eustace and Jessica Bonfield of Argyle, who both cleared 11-6. Bonner broke the 3A meet record of 12-6 set by Arianna Ince of Gonzales in 2005 and the Central Texas all-classification record of 12-6 set by Bonner last season.
Bonner, the state champion as a freshman in 2008, is now halfway to a perfect career.
But she might not have a more exciting day in the pole vault.
Bonner sent a large contingent watching the pole vault into a roar of approval on multiple occasions as she cleared ascending heights Saturday morning.
“I wasn’t really expecting to get 12-7,” Bonner said. “But after that, my adrenaline was running and that’s what helped me get over 13.”
Bonner took three shots at 13-4, just bumping the bar and causing it to fall on her last two attempts.
Still, it was a triumphant end to a trying season.
Bonner said she was struggling to clear pedestrian heights through district competition and heading to regionals.
Then came the UIL’s announcement that it would cancel the regional meets, which momentarily left Bonner out of the state meet. When the UIL shifted to allow for regional competition and the state meet to be backed up to later dates, it gave Bonner the time she needed to get back on her game.
“That actually helped me a lot,” Bonner said about the extra preparation time. “Going into regionals, if I hadn’t had that, I wouldn’t have made it.”
Bonner delighted the crowd and meet officials by continually requesting that the bar be raised.
She, too, clearly enjoyed the moment as she got up from each attempt, whether she cleared it or not, with a smile.
“Once I passed it and knew I won it, the pressure was off,” Bonner said. “I was just out there to have fun and do my best. I was pretty much just getting some jumps in and some looks at the bar when I got to 13. Whenever I got that, I was on cloud nine.”
Bonner’s successful day continued with a third-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles.
Bonner posted a time of 14.93 seconds to claim the bronze medal. She was .40 of a second behind event champ Sharda Bettis of Kemp.
The Mart boys’ 4x100 started the day by running to a gold medal with a time of 42.86 to edge Meridian by .25 of a second.
The Panthers’ first three legs — Johnny Jones, Colby Summers and Sean Farmer — passed the stick to anchor leg Anthony Martin with a fighting chance.
Though Martin slipped slightly after taking the baton, he turned on the speed to run away from the pack in the final 100 meters.
“When we got it around to the fourth leg, we still hadn’t made it out of the stagger,” Summers said. “When Anthony got the stick, I thought, ‘Man, we might not even win it.’ He just came out of nowhere. We beat them by a lot.”
Mantraze Landrum of Chilton and Meridian’s Torrance Allen duplicated their 1-2 finish in the 1A boys’ long jump on Friday by going 1-2 in the triple jump Saturday morning.
Landrum grabbed his second gold medal of the state meet with a mark of 48 feet, 3 3/4 inches, a foot better than Allen in second. Itasca’s Greg Mason finished third at 46-10 1/2.
Bremond senior LiDarral Bailey claimed a gold medal in the 1A boys’ 300 hurdles. Bailey ran 39.53, beating Clint Cockrell of Canadian by .40 of a second.
Bailey also finished third in the 110 hurdles at 14.85, .70 behind event winner Westin Williams of Wellington. Blum’s Corey Warthman took the silver in that race at 14.62.
Bremond’s Johnathan White won the 1A boys’ 800 with a time of 1:58.07, .38 of a second in front of Paul Lewis of Canadian.
White finished fourth as a junior in 2008, though he was just .60 off the gold-medal pace.
“Last year, they caught me at the end,” White said. “This year I wasn’t going to let them.”
Fairfield sprinter Derekia Coleman won the 3A girls’ 200 with a time of 25.09.
Lorena’s Mark Thomas finished second in the 3A boys’ pole vault. Thomas and Samuel Retzloff of Argyle each cleared 16-0, but Retzloff claimed the golf medal on fewer misses.
Meridian’s Kimber Koonsman took the silver medal in the 1A girls’ 100 hurdles, clocking a 12.39. Shelby McKnight of Wellington won the race at 12.11.
The Itasca boys finished second in the 4x200 relay with a time of 1:30.60. The Wampus Cats’ foursome of Stanley Johnson, Markell Rice, Desmond Guy and Greg Mason were .33 of a second behind event champ Normangee.
Belton’s Morgan Toone finished second in the 5A girls’ pole vault, clearing a height of 12-3.
Sidney Siepert of Evant finished third in the 1A girls’ 400 at 59.18.
The Chilton girls’ 4x200 relay team — Tysomalia Jordan, Lakesha Taylor, Brianna Taylor and Chanise Shaw — won the bronze medal at 1:48.04.