CHS shared Midland Empire Conference crowns in boys' soccer, girls' hoops, placed in top four in league standings in 10 of 13 fall, winter activities during abbreviated 2019-20 school year. Loop's all-around excellence laurel had belonged to either Maryville or former members Smithville and Platte County the past two decades

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Paced by co-championships in boys’ soccer and girls’ basketball,for the first time in 20 years, Chillicothe High School earned the Midland Empire Conference’s “Supremacy Award” for all-around, consistent athletics and “Scholar Bowl” competition accomplishment during a school year for the truncated 2019-20 term, it was announced by the conference early this week.

With cancellation of the spring sports season, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, CHS’ 24.5 points (first-place finish in a league sport is worth four points, second place three, third place two, and fourth place one) earned through the end of winter competition left it a single point ahead of Savannah in a very tight 4-schools battle. Maryville was third with 23 and Kansas City: St. Pius X fourth with 22.

Chillicothe earned the MEC’s “Supremacy Award” the first three years (1997-98 through 19999-2000) in which boys’ and girls’ results were combined before the 20-years lapse. CHS also had swept the girls’ and boys’ “Supremacy Awards” for the 1996-97 year, so it actually had at least a 4-years run at the end of the last century. In 1995-96, the Chillicothe girls won their side, while the boys’ went to St. Joseph: Benton. 

The school’s 2019-20 capture of the league’s “overall” crown came via a strong comeback during the winter.

Chillicothe was 5.5 points behind Maryville after fall activities and 3.5 points behind third-place St. Pius going into the winter, but placed in the top four in all five winter sports (girls’ and boys’ basketball, girls’ and boys’ wrestling, and “Scholar Bowl”), allowing it to overtake all three schools ahead of it. 

While no definitive claim can be made on how the rankings would have looked had the six spring sports (girls’ and boys’ track-and-field, girls’ soccer, boys’ tennis, boys’ golf, and baseball), CHS was expected to be competitive – in some cases highly so – in all six and might well have remained atop the heap had they occurred. 

In addition to the two shared MEC crowns, Chillicothe placed second in girls’ tennis, girls’ cross country running, boys’ basketball, and wrestling. No other conference school had more than five top-2 showings. CHS also was in the top four in the MEC standings in 10 of the 13 completed seasons, a breadth of top performance only Maryville matched. In one of the three sports in which Chillicothe did not have a top-4 team showing – girls' golf, it had the individual conference tournament champion in Hallie Jones, but it lack a sufficient number of players to register a team score.

Maryville was the 2018-19 conference champion following the departure from the league of 7-times defending champ Smithville.

Either Smithville (eight times) or Maryville (three) had won it every year since 2008-09, a stretch preceded by Platte County owning the “Supremacy” crown eight years in a row.