The remnants of a storm pass overhead, and Kaela Rorvig, half-laughing, half-serious, remarks how slow she is in practice.
Rorvig, who runs for Hickman, is anything but slow. At the sectional meet Saturday in Camdenton, she qualified for the state championships in four events. She won the 400 meters, where she is the two-time defending state champion.
Despite competing in four events, Rorvig isn’t nervous.
“I am feeling more excited than I am nervous, but there are still some nerves,” Rorvig said. “I think just because I have been there three times I kind of know what to expect.”
The Class 3A-4A state meet is today and Saturday at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. Field events start at 11 a.m., and running events begin at noon.
Rorvig is one of 22 Kewpies who will compete.
Kylie Loch, who won the 300 hurdles (46.41 seconds) and placed third at the sectional meet in the 100 hurdles (16.49), Tim Cornell, who won the 1,600 (4:19.45), and Shannon Butler, who placed third in the 100 meter (12.40) and helped to win the 4x400 (3:58.42), also qualified.
Cedric Elvis advanced in the triple jump (43 feet, 2 1/4 inches), and Stuart Denson will compete in the long jump (21-0).
After seeing his team improve during the season, coach Steve Luetjen said he thinks Hickman can finish in the top eight.
Luetjen isn’t focusing on specific goals for his athletes because he wants to avoid unnecessary pressure, but at the same time, he sees opportunities for them to become more successful.
“When we looked at all the other three sectionals, the (girls’) 4x100 (48.56) is the fastest time in the state of Missouri right now,” Luetjen said. “Our 4x400 (3:58.42) girls is second fastest, and our boys 4x800 (8:02.46) is (eighth) fastest; so if we run well, we have an opportunity to get those kids in the finals and/or score.”
Despite the excitement of competing well in sectionals, Luetjen tries to keep his team focused.
“Our first goal on Monday was ‘Congratulations on Saturday, let it go, and your biggest challenge is Monday and Tuesday practice,’” Luetjen said.
Rock Bridge is sending 14 athletes. Seniors Anne Case-Halferty and Ashley Guy will run in the 800. Craig Knight qualified in the 200 (22.52) and 400 (50.14) and will run in the 4x200 and 4x400.
Coach Neal Blackburn has worked mainly with his team in relaxation exercises and making sure it has itshandoffs down on relays.
“Physically if they’re not ready at this point they won’t be ready, and it’s just the mental component that we have to make sure is ready to go,” Blackburn said.