Soccer Hornets, tennis Lady Hornets romp past Cameron; cross country runners strong at Maryville meet Sept. 1; softball rained out

CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — What was due to be a 4-sports-events day for Chillicothe High School shrank slightly to three after a mid-afternoon thundershower streaked through town, but the other events – one in town and two out and all three season debuts – went very well for the CHS teams involved.
Although the softball Lady Hornets’ would-be home opener and “Senior Day” got doused just ahead of the scheduled game time, the soccer Hornets blew past Cameron 8-0 at home in an abbreviated match, the tennis Lady Hornets romped 8-1 at Cameron, and the cross country running teams produced four top-7 finishers in the Maryville Invitational.
Wednesday (Sept. 2) is to see the tennis girls back on foreign courts at Savannah.

Defending MEC, district soccer champ Hornets romp 8-0 in debut
CHILLICOTHE — With seven returnees from a 2019 squad that won both Midland Empire Conference and district-tournament championships, the Chillicothe High School soccer Hornets were expected to be more than the visiting Cameron Dragons could handle Tuesday (Sept. 1), but it would have been hard to foresee just how quickly and how dominant the hosts would be.
Less than a minute into the match at Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II, junior forward Drake Cosgrove converted senior wing midfielder Caleb Corbin’s pass into the first goal of the match and 2020 season.
Then, like the heavens did with rain about a half-hour earlier, the Hornets drowned the Dragons with a torrent of tallies.
Scoring at a stunning goal-a-minute pace for the first four minutes, center mid Chace Corbin, Cosgrove, and Aidan Zimmerman gave the home team a 4-0 lead before the match was five minutes old.
After taking a minute off against the overmatched guests, Cosgrove completed a 3-goals “hat trick” in the sixth minute with his second unassisted tally, making it 5-0.
Chillicothe backed way off the gas pedal at that point with 10th-year head coach Tim Cunningham deploying reserves a good part of the last 25 minutes of the opening half.
Before the bulk of the starters – especially those in the offensive positions – fully departed, Ch. Corbin netted his second goal to go with the assist he earned on Zimmerman’s goal. Ben Cueni-Smith, who’s 15 assists last year were the second-most in a season in team history, picked up his first “dime” of 2020 on Ch. Corbin’s second marker.
The Chillicothe subs continued taking the play to Cameron throughout the rest of the first half and, after one goal was disallowed – apparently on an offside call, sophomore Gabriel Peterson joined long-graduated older brothers Grant and Garrett as Chillicothe soccer goal-scorers when he fired a high shot in off the leaping Cameron ’keeper’s gloves from about 20 yards out in the 38th minute. He was set up for the open, high-quality shot by freshman Jacob Adler’s centering pass from near the goal line.
The second half began with an apparent gentlemen’s agreement between the opposing teams’ head coaches that, if Chillicothe scored first, the match would be called, rather than extend it to the formal 10-goals-lead rule.
With Hornets starters back on the artificial-turf pitch of Bob Fairchild Field, the ball was almost constantly on Chillicotheans’ feet, but the Hornets tried to use the opportunity to polish their passing and practice a variety of attacking tactics, attempting to use passing sequences to create prime scoring opportunities for teammates.
After being unable to connect on a number of such efforts, not quite 10 minutes into the last half, top striker Mason Baxter crossed a pass from the right side of the Cameron “18” (penalty area) to a spot about 10 yards out from the goal in the middle of the field. Moving under the airborne feed, Caleb Vance – one of five Hornets players and three managers honored after the abbreviated match on “Senior Day” – drove his right foot into the approaching sphere, sending it into the net for an 8-0 lead that terminated the action.
With Cameron not only struggling, talent- and experience-wise, early in the season, but also short of players, no junior-varsity match was planned, so Cunningham gladly used the situation to get his own reserves a chance to get a first taste of match play this season.
The soccer Hornets aren’t slated to be back in competition until next Monday (Sept. 7), when they’ll go to MEC foe Maryville. Both squads have a league win over the Dragons under their belt as they head into the Labor Day match.

Tennis Lady Hornets snare easy opening win
CAMERON — Rained out of their would-be opener at home a day before, Chillicothe High School’s tennis Lady Hornets got 2020 competition going Tuesday with a dominant performance.
Claiming four of the nine position sets without losing a game, the Lady Hornets presented coach Karen Jackson with an 8-1 triumph at Cameron in her debut in that role.
Utilizing seven players, Chillicothe swept the singles, being especially commanding in the bottom half of the lineup, after capturing the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles sets with goose eggs.
The Lady Hornets’ No. 2 duo of Cami Carpenter and Leah Lourenco and the new No. 3 pairing of Olivia Anderson and Audrey Snider each prevailed in perfect fashion to give the visitors a 2-1 lead going into singles play.
Cameron’s No. 1 tandem of Mackenzie Williams and Mattison Burton bested Chillicothe’s Delaney May and Megan Sisson 8-5.
In singles, Lourenco completed a spotless performance with an 8-0 triumph in No. 4 position, a score that was repeated by Rylee Washburn at No. 5 in her varsity debut as Snider sat out singles action.
Carpenter finished a 2-0 day with an 8-3 win at No. 2 singles and Anderson won again at No. 6 singles, rolling 8-1.
Top Chillicothe individual May turned the tables in singles, besting Cameron’s Williams 8-4. Sisson gained an 8-5 verdict in No. 3 singles.
Six Chillicothe junior-varsity players were victorious, as well – Izzy Garr and Hailey Fahling in singles and Emma Crowe, Mallory Grable, Tayler Epperson, and Bryton BeVelle in doubles.
The tennis Lady Hornets are to play a second-straight Midland Empire Conference dual match Wednesday (Sept. 2) at Savannah. Match time will be 4 p.m.

Four CHS cross country runners place in top seven in opener
MARYVILLE — Half of the eight 2020 Chillicothe High School cross country runners who participated in Tuesday’s (Sept. 1) season-opening Maryville Invitational meet placed in the top seven of their respective gender’s varsity race.
The highest placement of those four was generated by sophomore Aliyah Briner. The 2019 state-meet participant ran a 23:51 to finish third behind Savannah freshman Iris Alvarez, who posted a 22:05, and Jaclyn Riedinger of North Andrew (22:40).
Hornet senior Hayden Simmer began his final season strong, taking fourth in the boys’ 5-kilometers (approximately 3.1 miles) race in 20:11. He was about 2:25 behind winner Garrett Dumke, a Maryville junior. A pair of East Buchanan runners were second and third.
Two other Lady Hornets were among the top 10 finishers in the race which saw none of the participating schools have enough distaff runners for a team scoring total.
Junior Kadence Shipers was about a half-minute behind teammate Briner, finishing in 24:29 to earn fifth place, and Juliann Gabrielson, another sophomore, crossed the finish line in 24:49, good for seventh.
Rounding out the Chillicothe girls’ roster was sophomore Kaylynn Cranmer’s 18th-place time of 30:54.
On the boys’ side, sophomore Clayton Savage showed his promise with a 13th-place showing, clocked in 21:36. Classmate Gavin Funk finished 27th in 24:19 and senior Kade Simmer ran a 25:56, placing 34th.
“Great first meet,” proclaimed new CHS coach Jennifer Dickson. “A very strong start to the season for our runners. I am looking forward to building on that.”
The CHS cross country running squads’ next outing is scheduled to be Chillicothe’s annual home meet next Tuesday, Sept. 8. Usually attracting 15-20 other schools, a number which might be negatively impacted by coronavirus concerns and issues, it is due to begin at 4 p.m. in Simpson Park.