Chillicothe HS Tennis Hornets Net First 2021 Win Monday
Golfers roll on undefeated; booters strong in road loss
All three Chillicothe (Mo.) HS spring sports squads in action Monday produced solid performances, even though one picked up a loss.
The highlight was the inexperienced tennis Hornets earning their first dual-match triumph, edging host St. Joseph: Benton 5-4 by dominating the doubles competition.
At the same time, the golf Hornets were staying perfect for the season with a runaway dual win at Brookfield.
A bit later, the soccer Lady Hornets gave usually-solid host Hannibal a battle into the final minutes before succumbing, 3-1, ending a 3-matches winning streak.
In Midland Empire Conference team competition at St. Joseph, the visiting Hornets followed up crisply on their encouraging MEC-opening loss at Kansas City: St. Pius X the previous week with a fast-starting triumph.
With a lineup rearranged by head coach Bob Long, Chillicothe, which began the season without any players with varsity-level experience, stormed through Benton’s Cardinals in the match-starting doubles play, seizing a 3-0 lead.
Elevated from No. 2 combo to the top spot in the lineup, seniors Carter Allen and Caleb Corbin acquitted Long’s confidence, overwhelming BHS’ Sutton Redemer and Ethan Colwell 8-3.
Long split up his previous top duo, pairing No. 1 singles player Chace Corbin with fellow junior Emmett Young in No. 2 doubles and putting sophomores Gabe Peterson and Shayden Hawkins together for No. 3 competition.
The new look paid immediate dividends with the Ch. Corbin/Young pair storming to an 8-2 victory, while Peterson, formerly in the No. 1 tandem, working with Hawkins to eke out a come-from-behind 9-7 verdict, the coach reports. Hawkins and Peterson dropped four of the first five games, then clicked and ripped off eight wins in the next 11 to pull out the victory.
With the encouraging, but not commanding, 3-0 lead heading into singles competition, Chillicothe got the two set wins it needed for the team triumph from the Corbins at the top of the lineup.
At No. 1, Ch. Corbin “continued to play well,” the CHS coach assesses, as he routed Redemer 8-1. Ch. Corbin improved to 6-2 in singles sets/matches thus far in ’21.
Older brother Caleb did the exact same thing at No. 2, zipping to an early lead and never looking back in an 8-1 victory. With the No. 1 set having previously concluded, Caleb Corbin’s decision at No. 2 clinched the match for the Hornets (1-3 overall, 1-1 MEC).
While Benton claimed each of the other four singles sets to narrow the final match score to 5-4, Young battled right down to the wire at No. 5 before losing 6-8.
Allen fell 4-8 at No. 3, Peterson 3-8 at No. 4, and Hawkins 0-8 at No. 6.
The tennis Hornets figure to have a tough battle on their hands as they finally play their 2021 home opener Tuesday (April 13) against St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond. That action will begin at 4 p.m. on the Daryl Danner Memorial Park courts.
Chillicothe’s golf Hornets haven’t necessarily sizzled early this season, but they have played steadily very warm-to-hot in winning every competition they’ve had to date.
Monday at the Brookfield Country Club, they once more demonstrated their steadiness and balance while ringing up dual-match win No. 8 in a row, 178-215, over the host BHS Bulldogs.
By happenstance, the No. 2 slot in CHS coach Jim Wheeler’s varsity lineup continues to have a good vibe.
Through the first five competitions (four dual-match outings and one tournament), Colby Gillespie had posted the team’s best score from the No. 2 slot.
Resetting the lineup Monday for the first time to reflect the players’ early-season performances in competition, Gillespie – the team leader in 2019 – returned to the No. 1 position, flipping places with classmate Spencer Shira, who hadn’t been shabby to date with a 44.0 average entering Monday’s action.
However, technically in the second spot in the lineup, Shira led the way on the scoresheet with a 42, earning match medalist laurels for the first time.
Providing the closest challenge to Shira was another Hornet elevated a spot in the lineup.
Freshman Jackson Trout, with an average a half-stroke better (per nine holes) than classmate James Mathew thus far, swapped spots with Mathew, taking over No. 3. Trout showed no adverse effect from the on-paper change, shooting a 44, about 1-1/2 shots below his average.
Gillespie faltered a bit, but still was able to put up a 46, the same as Mathew, as the Hornets posted the 178 low-4 team total.
Continuing his recent improvement, senior No. 5 player Dalton Ripley lowered his average for a fourth-straight outing with a 49.
Brookfield had its top two players in the 40s, but in the mid-to-upper half. No. 1 Sam Clarkson carded a 46 on his home course and Dirk Sattman shot a 48.
The Bulldogs’ third-best score was a 59 from No. 5 Kai Wiedeman and Baylor Montgomery’s 62 completed their team-scoring quartet.
Not only did Chillicothe have all of its varsity players below 50, but so was junior-varsity member Keagan Valbracht with a 49.
“We played pretty well again as a team,” Wheeler comments.
The Chillicothe golfers are off from competition the rest of this week before hosting Trenton in a dual next Monday.
Host Hannibal pounced on a couple of Chillicothe mistakes to score goals in the 24th and 30th minutes and withstood a determined CHS comeback bid in the second half to prevail 3-1 in a non-conference match Monday.
“Proud of the way the girls bounced back from a solid first half marred by a few mistakes that Hannibal did well to capitalize on,” Jimmy Chapman, Chillicothe first-year head coach, reflects.
With the Lady Hornets pushing their attack more after intermission, they finally broke through with only about six minutes left. Sophomore Juliann Gabrielson put home her fifth goal of the season to make it 2-1, finishing off Ellie Barnett’s first assist of the year.
“We played our best half of soccer all season during the second half, fighting for a goal,” recaps Chapman. “We were unlucky to not have scored sooner.”
With very little remaining time to get the equalizer, Chillicothe had to gamble more and that led to what its coach labeled “an unfortunate late goal” which set the final score at 3-1.
While beaten three times, CHS junior goalkeeper Allie Italiano made 10 saves to keep Hannibal within sight through the first 70-plus minutes.
For a second-straight match, the Lady Hornets were without top offensive threat Lucy Reeter. The junior continues to fight a non-COVID-19-related illness, the coach reports.
The Chillicothe booters will have a few days off from competition before playing three matches in probably less than 24 hours this Friday and Saturday in the Moberly Invitational Tournament.
CHS will take on Mexico Friday evening, coach Chapman shares, and then tangle with Columbia: Father Tolton Regional and host Moberly on Saturday.
Chapman hopes Reeter will have recovered in time for the weekend action.