Chillicothe (Mo.) HS golfers stay undefeated in busy Tuesday (March 30) action

Soccer girls fall 1-0 at SPX despite ’keeper’s show; track, field teams win 12 events in home meet

As reported to C-T
Already winner of the meet's 110-meters high hurdles race, Chillicothe High School junior Braxten Johnson clears the last hurdle on the curve during the 300-meters intermediate hurdles race during the March 30 Brookfield Open meet held in Chillicothe. Johnson took this race by over two seconds with his 48.34 seconds clocking.
  • Gillespie again led CHS golfers to victory
  • Lady Hornets junior goalkeeper Italiano made 23 saves in 1-0 loss at KC: St. Pius X
  • Braxten Johnson, Quentin Cranmer and Hayden Simmer all were double-winners for CHS track, field boys

With the week’s available days for competition subjectively compressed in deference to the approaching religious observance of Easter, four of Chillicothe (Mo.) High School’s five spring sports programs had Tuesday (March 30) action and three were due to be right back in competition the next day.

Highlighting Tuesday’s CHS results were the golf Hornets’ third match victory in as many tries – this time in their home opener, the track-and-field squads generating a dozen event wins – eight by the boys – in the Brookfield Open meet for which Chillicothe served as host site, and the narrow 1-0 loss by the soccer Lady Hornets to presumptive Midland Empire Conference favorite Kansas City: St. Pius X.

Also in action Tuesday were the tennis Hornets, who were overwhelmed on the road by long-time power Marshall.

BOYS’ GOLF

2021 Chillicothe High School senior golfer Spencer Shira rolls a putt toward the cup on Green Hills Golf Course hole No. 4 as teammate Colby Gillespie looks on during Tuesday's home-opener dual match against Cameron. For a second-straight match, Gillespie led the Hornets to victory, carding a 41, one stroke ahead of Shira. Chillicothe defeated Cameron 183-205.

Welcoming Cameron’s Dragons to Green Hills Golf Course after playing – and winning – a double-dual on Cameron’s course last week, the golf Hornets posted a decisive victory this time.

After the prior clash had been decided on the tiebreaker of each team’s fifth player’s score, the Hornets were slightly-less-evenly balanced in their low-4 scoring Tuesday. However, thanks to strong rounds by co-medalist Colby Gillespie and Spencer Shira, they dropped three shots from their total, posting a 183, while Cameron, away from its familiar surroundings, ballooned to a 205.

Gillespie, the Hornets’ No. 1 golfer in 2019 who was outplayed by Shira for the No. 1 slot in the lineup during preseason practice rounds, led Chillicothe for a second time in as many 2021 competitions, firing a 41, five over par. That might be the best 9-holes round of the senior’s CHS career. He had a team-best 45 at Cameron.

Sharing match medalist honors with him Tuesday was Cameron’s top player, Brady Stice, each finishing a single swing ahead of Shira. They all played in the same foursome with the Dragons’ No. 2 man, Brant Jameson.

Hornets freshman Jackson Trout followed up his career-debut 46 at Cameron with a 47 in a grouping which also saw frosh James Mathew post the Hornets’ other team-scoring total, a 53.

Rounding out the Chillicothe varsity lineup again was senior Dalton Ripley, who carded a 57. In a demonstration of timing being everything, had that been his score the prior week at Cameron, the Hornets would have lost to the Dragons in that tiebreaker since Cameron’s fifth score that day was a 56, a total Ripley bettered by one stroke.

Chillicothe’s boys had two of their three other players in action Tuesday shoot promising mid-50s rounds. Veteran Keagan Valbracht finished with a 54 and newcomer Tyler Stephens a 56.

The golf Hornets play a triple-dual at Savannah Wednesday (March 31), facing two undisclosed foes besides the host Savages.

TRACK-AND-FIELD

Freshman Bronlyn Ward of Chillicothe High School strides to the finish line the winner of the 100-meters dash early in the track portion of Tuesday's Brookfield Open meet held in Chillicothe. Ward finished in 13.5 seconds.

With construction obstructions preventing Brookfield from being able to have what otherwise was due to be only a 4-schools meet at its facility, the late site shift to Chillicothe with its 8-lanes track allowed the meet to expanded to involve seven schools. With the extra schools and athletes, it was turned into an “open” meet (unlimited number of entries allowed for each school) with no team-scoring component.

Chillicothe, which was to have been one of the four schools involved originally, produced 11 triumphs out of the 38 events – seven on the boys’ side and four among the girls.

Showing the way for the Hornets with a pair of event victories each were juniors Braxten Johnson and Quentin Cranmer and senior Hayden Simmer.

Johnson was the CHS boys’ overall top points scorer, adding a second place in the triple jump and third in the long jump to his triumphs in both hurdle races. He took the 110-meters highs in 18.55 and the 300-meters intermediates in 48.34.

Reigning in a pair of events again, as they had in last Friday’s Chillicothe “Time Trial” meet, Cranmer this time took both the 200- and 400-meters dashes in times of 23.89 and 55.92 seconds, respectively, and Simmer had another sweep of the long-distance races, running the 1,600 in 5:11.04 and, later, the 3,200 in 11:19.

Joining Simmer and Cranmer in notching event wins Tuesday were juniors Damarcus Kelow in the discus throw (146’4”/44.62 meters) and junior Isaiah Sprong in the javelin throw (126’5”/38.55m).

Junior Byron George was second to teammate Simmer in the two longest races, while Cayden Potter, still battling a sore ankle, made his season debut by being second in the 100. Freshman Sam Reeter was runnerup to Cranmer in the 400, Rudy Yutzy No. 2 in the pole vault, Sprong second to Kelow in the discus, Cranmer second in the long jump, and Kelow second in the shot put.

Had there been team scoring, the Hornets would have reaped 152 team points just from its wins and second places and almost certainly would have had the top team total.

The girls’ division saw Chillicothe, Marceline and Brookfield all have strong days, with the smallest of the three – Marceline – likely to have produced the most points, had there been team scoring, with its eight event wins and several runnerup showings, as well.

Chillicothe’s four event victories were by freshman Bronlyn Ward in the 100-meters dash (13.5) and sophomore Belle Englert in the long jump (15’1-1/4”/4.6m), along with the 1,600- and 3,200-meters relay groups (participants not reported).

The Lady Hornets had two runnerup finishes from Jolie Bonderer in the 800 and 1,600, both times behind Brookfield triple winner Alexandra Sharp, who also took the 3,200, Kirsten Dunn in the 300-meters low hurdles, Aliyah Briner in the 3,200, and Maya Snyder in the javelin throw.

Sharing top billing in the meet, individually, on the girls’ side were Brookfield’s Sharp with her three triumphs and Marceline’s Ramzee Bruner, who won the high and triple jumps and was second in the 400-meters run. Bruner’s winning height of 5’4-1/4” (1.63m) in the high jump broke the Lady Tigers’ program record.

Also among the schools competing were Southwest Livingston and Tina-Avalon, each of which had event champions.

SLHS Wildcats seniors Chase Neptune and Patrick Warren took the triple and high jumps, respectively.

Warren cleared 5’7” (1.7m) with fewer misses than runnerup Bryant Carpenter of Macon. Neptune, fourth in the long jump, as well, topped the triple jumpers at 37’8-3/4” (11.5m).

T-A’s Logan Singer out-distanced CHS’ Kelow in the shot put, sending the steel ball 42’5-1/2” (12.94m).

Chillicothe will turn right around and host its own scheduled “quad” meet, which actually has turned into a quintangular also involving Excelsior Springs, St. Joseph: Lafayette, Lawson, and St. Joseph: Benton, Thursday at 4 p.m.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

At Kansas City Tuesday, facing the defending (2019) Midland Empire Conference champs and 2021 favorite St. Pius X Lady Warriors on their home artificial-turf pitch, CHS Lady Hornets junior goalkeeper Allie Italiano stole the show and nearly the match with likely a record-setting effort.

With the rest of the Chillicothe defense doing what it could to keep SPX away from the prime shooting locations, Italiano saved shot after shot after shot, eventually rejecting 23 Lady Warriors attempts on frame while letting only one get by.

That single exception – a shot by Bri Witthar in the eighth minute of the second half – was the match’s only tally as St. Pius X prevailed 1-0.

“Allie was a beast tonight,” lauded Jimmy Chapman, CHS first-year head coach and a former netminder back in his Chillicothe High playing days.

The nearly 2-dozen stops, he noted, included a save on a SPX penalty kick early in the first half.

“It might not seem like it, when your ’keeper has 23 saves,” Chapman reflected, “but our defense played very well.

“Center backs Ellie Barnett, Sophia Luetticke and Hannah Dominique, as well as wing backs Hallie Jones, Chloe Funk, Rylee Washburn, Alice Hurtgen and Skyler Powers, and our center midfielders Julia Stimpson, Makayla Vance, Delanie Kieffer and Hailee Williams did well in forcing Pius to take low-percentage shots. That helped make Allie’s night easier.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to generate many scoring chances, but did have a couple shots (on net).”

The loss squared the Chillicothe girls’ overall record at 2-2 going into a non-conference clash with fellow MEC member St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond at St. Joseph Wednesday.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Given their total lack of varsity experience – save last week’s season-opening loss at Carrollton, not much was expected of the CHS tennis Hornets as they visited rugged Marshall Tuesday.

While the 9-0 final team score was as anticipated and most of the play was as lopsided as projected, there were a couple of rays of sunshine for the Hornets, CHS coach Bob Long shares.

The Hornets’ No. 1 doubles combo of Chace Corbin and Gabe Peterson zipped to a 3-0 lead in their set, the coach recounts, but that’s where their bubble burst. The MHS duo of Haydn and Kolton King roared back to take the next eight games and win the No. 1 set 8-3.

When No. 1 singles rolled around, Ch. Corbin tried to build on the early success of his doubles set, dueling with H. King from start to finish this time before  eventually dropping the match’s tightest set, 6-8.

In No. 2 singles, his senior brother Caleb gave Brayden Chumpraphai a closer-than-it-looks battle, Long says.

“It was a competitive match, but the Owl won the majority of the close games,” the CHS coach relates concerning the 8-2 Marshall win.

Both the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles sets were won by the hosts without loss of a game. The same held true for Nos. 3, 5, and 6 singles. Peterson lost the No. 4 singles 1-8.

The 0-2 tennis Hornets are to have their first tournament competition of the new season Wednesday at Cameron.