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CHS’ Jones MEC golf champion second time

Senior’s 83 Wednesday good for 6-shots win; Williams also medals

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
Junior Brooklyn Williams of the Chillicothe High School golf Hornets shot a 50-50–100 Wednesday to earn the seventh-place individual medal from the 2020 Midland Empire Conference Championships. Teammate Hallie Jones repeated as league champion, shooting an 83. ( BUTCH SHAFFER / C-T FILE PHOTO )
  • Hallie Jones' 83 makes her repeat MEC golf champ
  • Jones' winning round included two birdies, seven pars
  • Junior Brooklyn Williams of CHS also medaled, placing seventh
  • Chillicothe in sttae-qualifying district tourney Monday at Excelsior Springs

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

ST. JOSEPH – While the specific venue was different, the town and the outcome was the same for Chillicothe High School golf Lady Hornet Hallie Jones in Wednesday’s 2020 Midland Empire Conference Championship tournament.

The 2019 MEC individual champion retained that distinction – much more handily this time – when Jones shot a 9-over-par 83 at St Joseph’s Fairview Golf Course to win the 2020 individual title by six strokes.

After edging since-graduated rival Emily Long of Maryville by a single shot with an 89 at the St. Joseph Country Club course a year ago, the CHS Lady Hornet finished this year’s event with a half-dozen strokes margin over Jaida Cox of St. Joseph: Benton. Cox was sixth last year with a 110.

Joining Jones in earning a conference tourney medal (top-10 individual finish) and thus earning all-conference standing was Lady Hornets junior Booklyn Williams. She carded an even 100 – her best 18-holes tourney score of the season by seven strokes – to place seventh.

With sophomore Skyler Powers able to rejoin the Chillicothe contingent, CHS had just enough to generate a team score.

With the strong scores produced by Jones and Williams, the Lady Hornets finished with a 418 team score, good for third place. Benton was the league tourney champ with a 398 with Cameron second at 413.

A year ago, at the apparently-tougher private course and in more-challenging scoring conditions, the winning team score was a whopping 449. Chillicothe did not have a team total last year.

Contributing to this year’s CHS team showing at conference were Powers with a 111 and junor Abbey Hayen with a 124.

Of his team’s performance and Jones’ dominant one, first-year Chillicothe coach Darren Smith commented, “I thought it went great.”

Jones’ scorecard included a pair of birdies – on the par-5 ninth and par-4 11th – and seven pars, including six in a 7-holes stretch on the front side, which she completed in 40 swings. She closed with 1-over pars on six of the last seven holes, the exception being a par on the par-5 15th.

Williams was very stable on each side, going 50-50 for her 100. She picked up a couple of back-9 par 5s on the 10th and 15th holes.

Hayen had one level-par hole in her conference-tourney debut – on the par-4 fifth. Her splits were a 64-60, while Powers – who had missed the team’s last three competitions – went out in 59, but then, regaining her feel some with the reps, came in strong in 52.

The conference tournament closes out Chillicothe’s 2020 regular season.

On Monday, weather permitting, the CHS quartet is due to play the hilly Excelsior Springs Golf Course in the 12-schools Class 2 District 4 Tournament.

With the addition of more classifications for girls’ golf this year, the Missouri State High School Activities Association has altered its postseason schedule and state-tourney qualification standards.

Gone for Class 1 and 2 are the former state-qualifying sectional tourneys between district and state. Instead, the top 18 scorers (including anyone sharing the 18th-best individual score) at district advances straight to state. There is no automatic team advancement from sectional; instead any school with at least four individual state qualifiers will be in the running for a state team title.

The Class 2 state tournament is set for Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 19-20, at the Meadow Lake Acres course at New Bloomfield, near Jefferson City. Jones earned a 14th-place medal at last year’s Class 1 state tourney at Nixa.

Competing against Chillicothe at district Monday will be players from Cameron, Marshall, Smithville, Odessa, Harrisonville, Pleasant Hill, Savannah, Warrensburg, and St. Joseph schools Benton and Lafayette, in addition to host Excelsior Springs.