Hickman’s talent growing

Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:35 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hickman coach Steve Luetjen knew he had some stars this season.

Kaela Rorvig, Shannon Butler and Tim Cornell have been top performers for Hickman for a few years.

It is the development of athletes like Kylie Loch, Aileen Gallagher and Alex Sable-Smith, though, that Luetjen said has his team in a good place as it nears the postseason.

“We’re not at the point we want to be, but in another two and a half weeks, we will be,” Luetjen said.

Luetjen will show off his expanding talent pool at the Hickman Relays at 3:30 today at the Hickman track.

Rock Bridge, Jefferson City, Mexico, Helias, Moberly and Rolla will also be at the meet.

“Anytime you have Jefferson City and Mexico, which are perennial powers, it will be competitive,” Luetjen said.

Jefferson City won the Blue Springs meet Saturday with 115 points and Hickman took second with 89.5.

Luetjen said his team has been looking forward to this meet.

“We enjoy putting on a show for the local crowd,” Luetjen said.

Loch has put on a show at several meets this season. Loch, a sophomore hurdler, won the 100-meter hurdles (15.06 seconds) at the Capital Relays on April 17 in Jefferson City and ran on the winning 400-meter shuttle-hurdle relay team at the MU Relays April 3 at Audrey J. Walton Stadium. She also placed second in the 300-meter hurdles (47.7 seconds) at Blue Springs.

Loch said a strength training class and hard work at practice aided her development.

“I’ve just been coming along a lot,” Loch said.

Loch said having an athlete like Kaela Rorvig on the team has helped her as well. Rorvig, the defending two-time state champion in the 400-meter dash, won that event at MU Relays and March 30 against Rock Bridge.

Loch said it is not just Rorvig’s physical ability, but also her attitude that has made her a good leader.

“She’s really nice,” Loch said. “She’s helped me a lot.”

Loch said she will not run hurdles today because her coaches want to rest her, but she will participate in the 4x100-meter sprint medley relay.

Aileen Gallagher is another Kewpie that has excelled this season. She won the 1,600-meter run at the Capital Relays in 5:10 and won the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs against Rock Bridge on March 31.

Butler, who qualified for the state meet in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash and the long jump last year, won the long jump (17 feet, 10 ½ inches) at Blue Springs. She also took second in the 100 and 200 in that meet.

On the boy’s side, Alex Sable-Smith caught Luetjen’s eye when he won the 3,200 (10:10) at the Capital Relays.

“He really had a fabulous run,” Luetjen said.

Matt Richmond won the 1,600 at the Capital Relays in 4:25 and Tim Cornell won the 1,600 against Rock Bridge in 4:32.6.

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