CHILLICOTHE (Mo.) HS WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 20, 2017, ROUNDUP: Hannah Cypert/Hunter Keithley tennis tandem takes conference doubles title with Gracy Reeter second in singles. Freshman Hallie Jones earns fourth-place medal in conference golf tourney.
Underclassmen shined for Chillicothe (Mo.) High School fall sports teams in conference-level competition Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, producing individual first-, second-, and fourth-place finishes, including a pair of the latter.
In tennis, one day after wrapping up the Midland Empire Conference’s team title with a perfect record in league dual matches, Chillicothe added to its 2017 MEC haul with – in junior Hannah Cypert and sophomore Hunter Keithley – the doubles champion in the non-team MEC tourney at St. Joseph, as well as the second- and fourth-place singles finishers in junior Gracy Reeter and sophomore Macy Cavanah, respectively.
In the same time span about 60 miles north of St. Joseph at Maryville, CHS freshman Hallie Jones was placing fourth in the medalist competition in the conference golf tournament, shooting a 93 which had her only six shots back of champion Emily Long of host and team champion Maryville.
Thursday’s CHS docket has the golf girls hosting Lawson at 4 p.m. at Green Hills Golf Course and the softball Lady Hornets welcoming Macon for 5 p.m. play at Daryl Danner Memorial Park.
Doubles title, upstart Cavanah make big noise in MEC tennis
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Although it was by no means guaranteed, the title seized by CHS’ Cypert and Keithley on the Noyes Tennis Center courts Wednesday also was no surprise, as they were the No. 1 seed once Midland Empire Conference coaches made their decisions on which players to enter in which style.
Similarly, Reeter’s runnerup finish in singles was pleasing, but not unexpected, as that also was exactly where she was pegged in the bracket seedings prior to the start of play.
What probably qualifies as the net event’s most-unanticipated performance was delivered by CHS’ Cavanah.
Seeded only 12th among the 16 players, she stormed to the championship semifinals with a pair of triumphs before settling for fourth place.
Chillicothe’s fourth and final entry – each school could have two singles and two doubles entries, although not all did the maximum – also held its own. The duo of senior Lauren Gregory and sophomore Hannah Zimmerman bounced back from a first-round loss to win twice following a bye in the first round of the consolation bracket.
That left them playing for fifth place (consolation), a match they dropped to a St. Joseph: Benton pair to end their day with, technically, three wins and two losses.
Cypert and Keithley handled the expectations of being atop the bracket well, cruising into the finals without loss of a set and then responding to a big challenge with the title on the line.
Having had a first-round bye, CHS’ No. 1 duo posted a 8-2 victory in the single-set quarterfinals and a 6-, 7-5 straight-sets decision over Addison Hall and Kamryn Glaster, their surprise semifinals foes from Maryville.
That put the Lady Hornets tandem in the championship match against second-seeded Stephanie Brown and Shyann Reynolds, a combo they handled not quite two weeks earlier.
The hometown players showed their intentions early, battling their way to a 6-4 first-set win over the CHS pair.
However, Keithley and Cypert refused to knuckle under to pressure, responding with a 6-3 triumph in the second set to make it winner-take-all in one last set.
The final set was all Chillicothe, however, with the Lady Hornets’ entry claiming it 6-0 to become CHS’ first MEC doubles champions since Chelsie Long’s and Kelly Westphal’s surprise title in 2013.
The singles competition saw Maryville’s favored T.J. Oglesby complete a perfect run through the 4-rounds bracket by clipping Reeter 6-4, 6-1 for the championship.
Like Oglesby, the top Lady Hornets singles player had not lost a set on the day yet when they tangled in the finals. Reeter had followed a first-round bye (same as Oglesby) with an easy 8-2 victory.
She then survived a stern test from Savannah’s Jacey Cornelius before prevailing 6-4, 6-4 to reach the title match.
While her teammates all were doing the more-or-less expected, Cavanah was surpassing what the other coaches had thought she could do.
She began her big day by decisively dispatching the fifth-seed to the consolation side by an 8-1 count. The CHS 10th grader followed with another 8-1 triumph, although this time over the No. 13 seed, who had kayoed the fourth seed in the opening round.
That put Cavanah across from the eventual champion from Maryville in the semifinals. Oglesby pulled away to a 6-2 first-set victory over the determined Lady Hornet, then shut her out in the second to advance to the first-place duel with Reeter.
Cavanah’s bid for a third-place finish was denied, as expected, by Cornelius. The score of that match was not reported.
With the best overall showing of any school on the day backing up the team-play title cemented a day earlier, Chillicothe verified that it unequivocally was the cream of the MEC crop this fall.
Reviewing her squad’s performance Wednesday, CHS head coach Amanda Marsh stated simply, “Awesome day.”
Wednesday’s play completed Chillicothe’s regular season and set the stage for its postseason action, beginning next week.
After a nearly-certain first-round bye Monday, the Lady Hornets figure to begin the team-matches Class 1 District 16 tournament at home Tuesday, either as the No. 1 or 2 seed. Its opponent would be determined in quarterfinal matches the day before.
Chillicothe and Trenton split two regular-season matches – Trenton 6-3 at home and Chillicothe 5-4 at home just last week, so which will get the top seeding remains to be seen.
Given the opposite results of their regular-season play, depending on which was at home, that No. 1 nod could be pivotal, since the team which receives it would have the right to host the “rubber-match” third meeting between them, if both advance to the district final.
Beyond that, the No. 2 seed probably will have to face likely No. 3 seed Maryville, a team capable of upsetting either Chillicothe or Trenton, in the semifinals before even having the chance to take on the top seed.
The district non-team competition, which will start individuals toward possible state play in either singles or doubles, will be hosted by Chillicothe late next week.
Wednesday’s 2017 MEC non-team tournament was a milepost, being the last one before Kansas City: St. Pius X replaces Smithville on the conference roster.
Smithville has never sponsored tennis (nor did Platte County during its approximately dozen years in the conference), so there has never been a full 16-entries bracket possible for the non-team tournament.
Next year, with SPX in the fold, all eight schools will have tennis programs, theoretically eliminating any byes in the league tourney.
St. Pius X’s inclusion also figures to “up the ante,” in terms of competition level. The Kansas City Catholic school almost perennially has one of the best Class 1 teams in Missouri and potentially could be extremely dominant in the MEC, year in, year out.
Jones sails along on course, but golf teammates struggle
MARYVILLE, Mo. — Chillicothe freshman Hallie Jones’ first involvement in the Midland Empire Conference girls’ golf tournament Wednesday didn’t faze her.
Playing steadily and solidly on the Mozingo course, the youngster shot a 45-48–93 to place fourth individually among the 38 players (St. Joseph: Benton and Bishop LeBlond each had only four entries).
That score was within a half-dozen of conference individual champion Emily Long’s, whose 87 for hosts’ team champions, nosed out Smithville’s top player S. Oesterle (first name not available) by one shot and MHS teammate Laurelle Wickersham by two.
Team-wise, Chillicothe didn’t have much of a day aside from its No. 1 player’s performance.
Maddie Lamp posted a respectable 107 for the 18 holes, but CHS’ other three all were above 120, leading to a team score of 447, far and away the Lady Hornets’ highest tournament total of the season.
The score left Chillicothe fifth among the eight teams. Maryville won with a 372, 22 shots ahead of second-place Smithville, which was competing in the event for the last time before switching leagues next school year.
On her way to her fourth-place showing, Jones parred holes No. 5, 9, and 13, reports CHS coach Bob Long.
“After landing in the bunker on the par-3 15th hole, Hallie hit a brilliant sand shot with the pin on a downward slope and the lake behind and eventually shot a four on the hole, barely missing the par putt,” the coach recounted.
Lamp placed 11th individually with her 53-54–107, missing the top 10 by one stroke.
Chillicothe’s Hannah Haakonstad shot a 53-68–121 and senior Jensen Simmer a 58-68–126, including a five on the par-5 third hole. They were the team’s other two counting scorers.
Lexi Hargrave rounded out the contingent for the event and carded a 64-71–135.