CHS cross country runners post steady state showings
Simmer, top girls’ trio finish mid-pack, girls’ team last among nine in Thursday's Class 3 state championships race
COLUMBIA — No significantly-surprising showings – either positively or negatively – sprung from Chillicothe High School’s heftiest participation in the state cross country running championships in five years last Thursday.
In what is believed to have been – thanks to COVID-19 transmission-prevention measures – the first mid-week state-championship races ever, four of Chillicothe’s six individual participants posted solid finishes in the middle portion of their respective competitions and the five girls who ran and allowed CHS to be included in team competition for the first time in 33 years gained valuable experience just be participating.
“Very happy and excited the girls' team and Hayden were able to experience the state meet,” CHS first-year head coach Jennifer Dickson commented. “They worked hard all summer and season with that goal in mind.
“It was a wonderful experience and we are grateful for that opportunity.”
She confirmed that the exposure to state competition has whetted the girls’ team’s appetite for returning in 2021.
“It has fueled their passion for this sport and the future of the program,” she related. “The girls are already talking about goals for next year and how we get back there, but our goal is to bring everyone (on both genders’ squads) next time.”
The lone Chillicothe senior involved Thursday – Hornet Hayden Simmer – ran a career-fastest 18:46.9 to place 97th out of 168 qualifiers. That was about 18 seconds faster than he’d run the 5-kilometers (approximately 3.1 miles) ever before. He was about 15 seconds away from placing in the exact middle of the field
On the distaff side of Thursday’s competition at the Gans Creek Cross Country Course, repeat state qualifier Aliyah Briner showed the way for CHS – by one place and less than one second.
The sophomore and junior Kadence Shipers ran within chatting distance of each other virtually start to finish and, at the end, were feet apart. Briner crossed the finish line 88th out of 156 racers in 22:52.1 and K. Shipers 89th in 22:53. Briner’s state time was 27 seconds faster than her time at the district meet last Saturday and K. Shipers’ was 51 seconds.
Not far behind that duo was sophomore Juliann Gabrielson, whose career-best time of 23:06 – 38 seconds faster than her district-meet time five days earlier – put her 97th individually.
The time which put a female runner in the exact middle of the field was 22:42, so Briner and K. Shipers were barely 10 seconds away from that and Gabrielson 24 seconds shy.
“It was a hot day, but they ran hard and, out of our six runners, we came away with three ‘PRs’ and four top-100 finishes!” summarized Dickson
Completing Chillicothe’s performance at the state meet were Lady Hornets sophomore Kaylynn Cranmer running a 25:37.9 that put her 141st and freshman Emily Shipers finishing in 151st in 29:59.4. Cranmer’s time was nearly 1:20 faster than her district clocking and E. Shipers’ 1:31 quicker.
“I could not be more proud of them and their drive and dedication to running and their team,” Dickson praised the 2020 squad, including those Hornets who did not advance to state.