Ever since Kalleigh Linthicum began her career as a runner at Timberland High School, she has been able to outmatch her competition in both cross country and track. Before coming to Webster last year, she received all-conference honors for cross country, was one of the few females to qualify for state championships and is Timberland’s all-time leader in the 5,000 meter race with a finishing time of 20:04.5.
Her talent as a high school runner has translated smoothly to the college level. Last season in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Championship, Linthicum completed the 6,000 meter race with a career-best finishing time of 24:35.9. That season she was also selected to the 2017 All-SLIAC Second Team for cross country.
This season she is up to her same heroics as a sophomore. She has earned a spot on the 2018 All-SLIAC Outdoor Track team for her performances in the 5,000 meter races. Webster has named Linthicum the ‘Gorloks of the Week’ for the week of September 10-14 for her efforts. She said transitioning from high school running to college running was relatively easy because at Webster she got to work with coaches who are more knowledgeable about what makes a great runner.
“The only thing that was different from high school was that it was more mileage and more training,” Linthicum said. “Coming into college I was able to work with a coach who knew what he was doing and knew backgrounds, everybody’s body type and what they needed, so it was easier to adjust to him because that was what I was looking for.”
In addition to Linthicum’s athletic prowess, she has also been known to excel in the classroom. That led to her receiving an academic scholarship to come to Webster. She said she has always valued her academics over her athletics, and that is what has fueled her success in school.
Linthicum used her intelligence in the classroom to help other students as well. Her senior year in high school, she became apart of Timberland’s A+ Tutoring program where she would help students who struggled with school subjects that she excelled in.
“I also worked with a special needs classroom, so I got to help them with everyday activities, like knowing how to tie something,” Linthicum said. “Watching them over the semester be able to accomplish an everyday activity was really special for me.”
Head coach Dan Graber said he was really impressed with Linthicum as a player and a student. He said her fearlessness and dedication to becoming a great college runner is what convinced him that she would be a valuable asset to the team.
“I got to see her run a couple of times in high school and it was evident that she’s someone that isn’t afraid to compete and run up towards the front of races,” Graber said. “It was really great to add someone like her to our program.”
Junior cross country runner Jessica Phibbs is someone who Linthicum said is one of her close teammates and someone that she frequently works with on things like endurance, pacing and strength training. Phibbs said Linthicum has a motor that is relentless and incomprehensible. She said despite Linthicum’s heavy course load, she still finds the energy to dedicate herself to becoming a better runner.
“She has so much passion, it’s crazy,” Phibbs said. “She’s taking four super hard classes right now, but even with those classes we would still get up at 6:00 in the morning and go run. Even after those classes, she’ll do a double and do another four miles.”
Phibbs said not only does Linthicum drive herself to work relentlessly to become a better runner, but she also pushes her teammates to be the same way. Phibbs said that when there would be times where she felt like she had reached her limit, Linthicum was the one that gave her the extra push.
“There were days where I felt like I did not want to run and she would be like ‘hey, can you run with me today at 4:00’, and I would say yeah,” Phibbs said. “I wouldn’t want to run, but seeing her would encourage me to keep going.”
Linthicum is majoring in criminology with a minor in Spanish and psychology. When she graduates she hopes to be at the top of her game in both running and academics.
“Academically wise, I would really like to be in the top range of my class,” Linthicum said. “I’m already one of the few people so far in my degree, so being able to graduate in that would be amazing. Running wise, I would love to be all-conference for the next three years and getting some records would be amazing, while also helping our team.”