Hornets, Lady Hornets sweep division, overall titles Friday

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS » As hot this spring as the weather has been cold and damp, a banner year, even by the program's relatively-lofty standards, continues to be unfurled by Chillicothe High School's track-and-field teams in 2013.
For the first time in five years, but fourth time in nine, Chillicothe's squads claimed the overall championship of the annual Mineral Water Classic meet Friday in overwhelming fashion. As they also did most recently in 2008, they captured the team title in each gender division.
CHS out-distanced runnerup Lawson a whopping 143-84-1/2 in the boys' competition and 140-100 in the girls' to capture to overall crown by just shy of triple digits (98-1/2 points) 283-184-1/2.
Chillicothe claimed the overall crown in 2005 and 2007, too, leading both gender divisions in the former, but placing third in the boys' group while the girls showed the way two years later.
Friday's performance gave the 2013 Lady Hornets effectively their fourth meet win in five outings (no official team scores were tabulated at Boonville, where both CHS teams dominated) and the Hornets their third-straight.
Chillicothe entrants won 10 of the 36 events, including seven solo tests and three relays.
There was only one double-winner – Hornets senior thrower Alec Whiteside, who again claimed the discus and shot put.
A new face in "victory lane" was Hornets junior sprinter Kameron Allen, who continued his impressive early-2013 progress by taking the 400-meters dash in 53.05 seconds.
Also capturing individual events were Lady Hornets Ali Stephens in the 1,600-meters run, Erin Gilliland in the 300-meters low hurdles, Lauren Jones in the pole vault, and Lexi Snyder in the triple jump.
Both CHS teams generated at least one relay win. The always-strong girls took the 400 (4x100) with the group of Mackenzie Barnett, Madison Williams, Olivia Hayes, and Gilliland and the 1,600 (4x400) with Gilliland, Claire Chapman, Stephens, and Williams. The boys captured the 3,200 (4x800) on the legs of Andrew Jensen, Cody Saville, Wagner Chapman, and Cole Distler.
The Hornets and Lady Hornets buttressed those 100 team points from event wins with nine second places – three of those by David Hershberger.
They had several events in which their two entries (teams could have no more than two in any individual event) both finished high.
Gilliland and Randi Mammen – like the Chapman twins a freshman – went 1-4 and 2-4 and Hershberger and Zach Alperin 2-4, 2-5 in the hurdles as the Lady Hornets reaped 28 team points and the Hornets 25 from those two events (each) alone.
In addition, Jones and Isis Baker were first and third, respectively, in the pole vault for 16 points – the most the Lady Hornets hauled away from any event, Snyder and Maggie Graves were second and third, respectively in the high jump for 14 points, and Hershberger led another 13-points claim in the high jump with Jesse Miller fourth.
Next up for the Chillicothe thinclads will be several days of practice leading up to one of the season highlights – the conference championships – next Thursday (April 25) at St. Joseph: Benton. The Lady Hornets rank as the favorite going in and the Hornets as contenders behind favorite Maryville on the boys' side.