Hornets also get outright title in their gender division on last-race DQ Thursday at Excelsior Springs

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. — If the Chillicothe (Mo.) HS track-and-field Hornets and Lady Hornets stay “in character” when they have their Easter Sunday meals, they’ll gobble up a lot of second helpings.
That’s what they did often enough in competition at the 2019 Mineral Water Classic meet Thursday (April 18) to capture both the overall “school” championship for most points scored by girls’ and boys’ teams combined for the second year in a row and also capture the boys’ division crown.
Of the 30 non-relay-race opportunities, Chillicothe had both of its entries score points by finishing in the top eight in 13 of them, the double points grabs its depth allowed accounting for 138-1/2 of its 226-1/2 combined points.
The “tag-team” tactics were paced by four instances in which two CHS entries finished in the top three of the events, topped by another 1-2 finish in the boys’ 400-meters dash by juniors Isaak Rasche and Kaleb Mullikin.
After Mullikin bested Rasche in competition for the first time last Tuesday at Cameron, Rasche regained the upper foot at Excelsior Springs High School’s Tiger Stadium Thursday by finishing the single trip around the track in 52.99 seconds, 0.57 quicker than his runnerup running mate.
That was part of a stellar day by Rasche, who also placed third – right behind teammate Peyton Forck – in the 200-meters dash and anchored the victorious 1,600-meters relay and second-place 800 relay units. He thus provided a Hornets-high 20-1/2 team points to both the boys’ team and school cause.
When he crossed the finish line first in the meet’s final event – the 1,600 relay, which also featured Mullikin, Peyton Forck, and Ethan Corbin, it both sewed up the combined-teams’ title plaque – Chillicothe’s 226-1/2 outdueling host Excelsior Springs’ 218-1/2 – and the boys’ title, although the latter needed some help.
Entering the last boys’ event, the Hornets were four points behind Richmond, 109-105. With multiple schools which had indicated beforehand they planned to have a group in the final relay opting not to do so when race time arrived, only three teams lined up for the boys’ 1,600 (4-by-400) relay.
That meant each seemingly was guaranteed at least six points which would go to the third and last group to finish. If Richmond, which was one of the three, just finished cleanly, it would do no worse than share the boys’ title with Chillicothe. If RHS took either first or second place or if the Hornets did not win, the Spartans would be outright champions.
However, as the race unfolded, according to the official results listing, Richmond committed some type of infraction and, as a result, sustained a disqualification. That meant it received no points and handed the boys’ crown over to Chillicothe, which won the race in 3:39.09.
That final event triumph for Chillicothe’s boys was only its second, following Rasche’s earlier win in the 400. However, because of both the volume and quality of the numerous “double dips” – in addition to the Rasche-Mullikin showing in the 400, Forck and Rasche were 2-3 in the 200, Rudy Yutzy and Aidan Zimmerman shared second in the pole vault, Trey Tipton and Lavery Jones went 4-5 in the high hurdles and 3-6 in the intermediate hurdles, and Isaac Washburn and Luke Hopper both placed in the discus throw – and also thanks to seventh- or eighth-place finishes by Cade Koehly, Colby Moody, Daniel Hedrick, William Perry, and Hopper, the CHS boys had just enough to emerge on top.
While the Hornets were scrambling their way to the top of their heap, the Lady Hornets were posting likely their strongest showing of the season to date, not only providing a large-enough points share (111-1/2) to help garner the school title, but finishing second on their own to the host Lady Tigers in the girls’ standings. Excelsior Springs racked up 140-1/2.
Although the CHS girls won only a single event, that one win was the nail in the ESHS coffin, as far as the combined-teams battle was concerned.
Heading into the last girls’ race – that 1,600-meters relay again, Chillicothe had 206-1/2 points, seven less than Excelsior Springs. With ESHS not going to be in the boys’ finale and the Hornets virtually assured of at least six points from their 3-teams race, that effectively meant the Lady Hornets had to score one more point than the hosts in their relay to assure CHS of at least a tie. Anything less would put more pressure on the CHS boys to take first or second and anything more would lessen that pressure.
With, similar to the boys’ event, several schools “scratching” from the girls’ final event, only four entries moved to the starting line, essentially assuring each one of at least five team points. Because both the winner and runnerup would score two more points than the next team in line, Chillicothe knew either of those spots – as long as Excelsior Springs was behind it – would mean the combined title was a near-certainty (barring a disqualification for the Hornets in their race). A finish immediately behind ESHS would keep the hosts within single digits and leave the path open for the CHS boys to pull out the combined crown with a win.
The Lady Hornets took care of everything themselves.
With Kylee Larson as leadoff runner, followed by Delaney May and Lydia Anderson with Jordan Hibner as anchor girl, Chillicothe joined Kansas City: St. Pius X in opening a sizable gap between them and Richmond and Excelsior Springs as the final lap unfolded. As long as Hibner was able to finish in a reasonable fashion, the combined-teams hardware would be heading back to Chillicothe again.
Set up by the work of the preceding trio, the junior not only made it around unscathed, but outdueled SPX’s last runner to give CHS its only win of the meet in 4:34.87. That was exactly one second faster than St. Pius X and a comfy 11-plus seconds faster than Excelsior Springs, which settled for fourth.
With the net five points pickup for Chillicothe from that win, the ESHS lead was down to two before the Hornets hit the track for their finale and meant all they had to do was run a clean race and the “school” title would stay with CHS. When, with their own incentive to win to add to the Chillicothe haul, the boys also prevailed, the CHS thinclads’ best day of the season ended on a very high note.
In terms of individual productivity among the Lady Hornets, Larson, back with the squad after missing last Tuesday’s meet at Cameron, was the queen bee. The senior took second in both hurdles races (16.68 seconds in the 100-meters highs and 49.81 i the 300 lows) and was on both the winning 1,600 relay and fifth-place 400 relay to account for 19-1/2 team points.
Hibner, third in the 400 and fourth in the long jump,  was next with 14-1/2 and Lydia Anderson, who took third in the low hurdles and fourth in the highs in addition to being on the winning relay, tacked on 13-1/2. Also in double figures was Montana Hall with 11, via a second place in the shot put (33’8”) and sixth in the discus throw.
Chillicothe’s girls grabbed double points in, as mentioned, both hurdles races with Larson and Anderson, as well as the 3,200-meters run with Kadence Shipers and Leah Lourence (nine total points), the pole vault with Kennedy Corzette (second at 8’) and Emmalee O’Dell (11-1/2 points), the discus throw with Abby Jones and Hall (eight points), and the long jump with Hibner and Maya Snyder (seven points).
As with the Hornets, even the single-point, eighth-place finishes of Ella Leamer in the javelin throw, Corzette in the triple jump, and the 800-meters relay group, as well as sixths and sevenths from the likes of Clara Leamer, Snyder, Katelyn Sullivan, and Hall were indispensable, in the end, to CHS’ overall successes.
Next on the docket for the CHS track-and-field teams is slated to be the Midland Empire Conference Championships this coming Thursday.