Hickman’s Denson leads relay rally

The Kewpies come from behind to win two relays, including the 4x100.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:00 p.m. CDT, Saturday, June 28, 2008

When Hickman’s Stuart Denson took the baton from Steven Broadus for the third leg of the 4x100-meter relay, the Kewpies were well behind Jefferson City.

When Denson reached Josh Sallee for the final leg, they were even.

“He brought us back in the race, so I knew I had to run my hardest,” Sallee said.

Sallee made good on that thought, for his sprint helped Hickman beat the Jays. Hickman finished in 43.77 seconds, and Jefferson City finished in 43.83.

That was one of two come-from-behind and four total wins for the Kewpies at the Hickman Relays on Tuesday at Hickman. Hickman also won the boys’ 4x800 relay, the boys’ long jump and set a meet record in the girls’ long jump. The Kewpies’ mark of 49 feet, 8 inches beat Helias’ 46-8 from last year.

Hickman coach Steve Luetjen said his team’s success Tuesday would help it as it prepared for the postseason.

“It was a good day,” Luetjen said.

Jefferson City won 21 of 30 events. Team scores were not kept.

Rock Bridge also experienced success at the meet, for the Bruins’ girls’ distance medley relay and 1,600 medley relay teams set meet records.

The distance medley team’s time of 13:14.76 beat the mark of 13:44 that Mexico set last year, and the 1,600 medley team’s 4:25.08 beat Jefferson City’s 4:31 from last year.

Rock Bridge coach Neal Blackburn said this was not a surprise.

“When I entered those girls, I told them I felt like we should set a goal of getting some meet records,” Blackburn said.

Ashley Guy, Casey Doolam, Anne Case-Halferty and Kara Hickey make up the Bruins’ distance relay team. Guy, Case-Halferty, Hickey and Timona Stapelton competed in the 1,600-meter relay.

Hickman finished second in eight events and Rock Bridge finished second in two. Hickman earned its first win early in the meet when the boys’ 4x800 team posted a 8:07.11 to beat Rock Bridge’s 8:11.28. The Kewpies were losing going into the final straightaway, but Tim Cornell regained the lead within feet of the finish line and won.

The win in the 4x100-meter relay was Hickman’s second and Luetjen said Denson’s leg showed how important he is.

“I think he’s really the glue for our (4x100) team,” Luetjen said.

Denson proved his worth again when he posted a meet-best 20-5 long jump to lead the Kewpies to a win.

“He’s our fastest kid,” Luetjen said. “You’ve got to have some explosion if you’re doing the long or the triple (jump.)”

Shannon Butler also posted a meet-best in the long jump (18-3) that also was a personal best. That beat her mark of 17-10 from last year’s Hickman Relays.

“I’m very proud of myself and my coach,” Butler said.

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