Hickman, Rock Bridge track teams prepare for state meet

Thursday, May 26, 2011 | 9:21 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – Led by senior Sarah Hall, a group of girls from the Hickman track and field team is looking to build on their recent success at this weekend's Class 4 state track and field meet.

“They’ve proven that good competitions and competitive races excite them toward good performances,” Kewpies coach Steve Kissane said.

After winning the girls competition at last Saturday's Class 4, Sectional 3 meet, the athletes are feeling the pressure of the state meet, Kissane said.

Hall is the reigning state champion in the shot put. Kissane said she had been great throughout her career at Hickman and any success she had at the state meet would be “icing on the cake.”

Senior Victoria Jackson finished eighth last year in the long jump after third-place finishes as a freshman and sophomore. She is looking to improve on those finishes this year, according to Kissane.

Kissane said Hall, Jackson and senior Taalor Stevenson have also helped the others perform on competition day.

“They’ve been instrumental in leading the younger girls all year,” Kissane said.

One girl who has capitalized on their help has been sophomore Hannah Corbin. Kissane said Corbin had been outstanding for Hickman, and she will run on both the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 meter relay teams. Stevenson will also run on both relay teams and senior Galit Rudelson is an all-state pole-vaulter, according to Kissane.            

While the Hickman girls are led by a core group of seniors, the Rock Bridge girls team will go to the state meet with no seniors.

Although Rock Bridge coach Neal Blackburn said that without a lot of upperclassmen the girls team probably wouldn’t compete for a team title, he said he thought it said something about the Rock Bridge program to have athletes competing every hour at the state meet. Between the boys and girls teams, Rock Bridge will compete in 12 events at the meet.

“We really just want to see some people compete in the finals,” Blackburn said.

Leading the girls team are two sophomore hurdlers. Mallory Short is a returning state finalist in the 100-meter hurdles and Sienna Trice is seeded third in the 300-meter hurdles.

“It’s just phenomenal to give (the underclassmen) this experience,” Blackburn said.

On the boys side, however, Blackburn said he thought the Bruins could continue to build on their success after winning the Class 4, Sectional 3 meet.

“We feel like we have a lot of the cogs in the wheel to be able to put something special together,” Blackburn said.

In the field events, Rock Bridge will look to senior Nick Sublett and juniors Daniel Brennan and Austin Ray to complement the team’s runners. Sublett and Ray are competing in the shot put and discuss throw, while Brennan has a chance to be a finalist in the triple jump.

Junior Caleb Wilfong will lead the boys on the track and Blackburn said he was one of the favorites in the 1600-meter race.

“What we would like to do is to enter on Saturday and feel like we have a legitimate chance at a potential top-four spot when Saturday is over on the boys side,” Blackburn said.

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