Lady Hornets claim not-quite-biblical Shy crown

Team champs with nary an event victory win on track, in field

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
The majority of the Chillicothe High School track-and-field Lady Hornets who helped lift the squad to the team championship of the Chillicothe Joe Shy Relays last Friday gather for a photo after the meet. Chillicothe outdistanced second-place Cameron by nearly 14 points to win the meet crown for the first time since 2017.
  • Chillicothe boys take third behind lone CHS event winner, top scorer Simmer
  • Girls' crown their first in biggest home meet since 2017
Sophomore Isabella "Belle" Englert of the Chillicothe High School track-and-field Lady Hornets lands on one of her attempts in the long jump. She finished second in the event with a best try of 15'4" and also took fourth in the triple jump, helping lead the CHS girls to the team title of the Chillicothe Joe Shy Relays meet last Friday.
Braxten Johnson, junior with the 2021 Chillicothe High School track-and-field Hornets, leaps over a hurdle about two-thirds of the way through the 300-meters intermediate hurdles race in last Friday's Chillicothe Joe Shy Relays. Earlier sixth in the 110-meters high hurdles and later part of the Hornets' fourth-place 1,600-meters relay group, Johnson placed fourth in this event.
Junior Byron George of the 2021 Chillicothe High School track-and-field Hornets, left, strides along during the 3,200-meters run late in last Friday's Chillicothe Joe Shy Relays meet at Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II. George claimed fourth place in the race, one of two distance-run medals he earned on the day, and, with race winner Hayden Simmer, made the 3,200 the most profitable event, points-wise, for the Hornets as they claimed third place in the team standings. The duo contributed not only 15 points in this race, but had another nine earlier in the 1,600, nearly 30% of CHS' 83 points.

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

It wasn’t quite a case of the last being first, but for host Lady Hornets, a truckful of fourth- and fifth-place finishes negated the impact of no event wins and transported them to the team title of the Chillicothe Joe Shy Relays high school track-and-field meet as it returned Friday after a pandemic pause in 2020.

Seven fourth places (one shared) provided a hefty 30 team points and five fifths (another one shared) tacked on another 19-1/2 points, offsetting the Lady Hornets’ total lack of firsts in the 15-schools meet. Joined with three seconds and a third and multiple lower finishes, the CHS girls amassed 88.83 points, 13.83 more than surprise runnerup Cameron in the highly-balanced girls’ division.

Nearly half (seven) of the girls’ teams accumulated at least 50 points with six between 68-1/2 and Chillicothe’s winning total. That dispersal of points allowed the hosl’s depth to prevail for its first girls’ win since 2017 in CHS’ biggest regular-season home meet.

The boys’ division saw Chillicothe use Hayden Simmer’s 3,200-meters win and his and Damarcus Kelow’s composite trio of runnerup showings to respectably repeat its third-place showing of two years ago, netting 83 points. That was fully 21 points ahead of tiny fourth-place finisher Princeton and only 15 back of second-place Richmond. Well in front of everyone was Kirksville with 133.

Individually, both genders had a clear-cut top scorer and Bob Carter Memorial Gold Shoe Award winner who only knew victory on the mild, partly-to-mostly cloudy day at Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II – juniors Brooklynn Holtman of Maryville and Owen Fraser of Kirksville.

In the girls’ division, the lanky Holtman was unbeatable in the sprints, as well as the high jump. Winning the 100-, 200-, and 400-meters races by clear-cut margins and quitting at while ahead after clearing 4’11” in the high jump early in the proceedings, Holtman’s 40 team points outdistanced runnerup Alexandra Sharp, the Brookfield distance running ace.

While Holtman won the three shortest races, the BHS Lady Bulldogs junior whiz took the three longest (800, 1,600, 3,200) and, pushing for the high-points award named for the late, former long-time sports editor of the Constitution-Tribune who died in a traffic crash in his early 50s 19-plus years ago, also was entered in the 400 meters runs. While Holtman prevailed, Sharp settled for sixth, leaving her with netting 33 team points in the meet.

In the boys’ division, the 6’7”, 280-pounds Fraser outdistanced Chillicothe standout thrower Kelow in the shot put and discus throw and also claimed the javelin throw. The KHS Tiger won both the discus and javelin by margins of 5-10 feet and the shot put by 10-plus feet.

Even though he competed in only three points, Fraser’s perfect performance, in terms of winning them, carried him past sprinter Carlos Cortez of St. Joseph: Lafayette, who won the 100 and 200, but also ran in a pair of relays. Cortez finished with 23-1/2 points, compared to Fraser’s 30.

For Chillicothe, its overall top scorer (regardless of gender) was senior Simmer with 18 points from his comfortable 6-seconds win in the 3,200 in 11:08.45 and his second place in the 1,600, just over three seconds off the winner’s pace.

For the Lady Hornets, freshman Jolie Bonderer showed the way with 16-1/2 points. She took second in the 1,600 and fourth in the 800 and ran in the runnerup 3,200-meters relay and third-place 1,600 relay.

Next-highest for each CHS squad were Kelow for the Hornets with 16 points and sophomore Belle Englert for the Lady Hornets with 13, including a second place in the long jump.

The Lady Hornets’ team triumph saw 29 points generated in the seven field events and 59.83 in the dozen track competitions, a virtually-perfect division of the scoring load.

Englert and Bonderer delivered a runnerup showing and fourth place each – the former in the distance jumps and the latter in middle-distance-to-long races. Ninth grader Bonderer tacked on her extra 3-1/2 points by being on the second-place 3,200-meters relay and third-place 1,600 relay units.

Englert missed winning the long jump by just over four inches, leaping 15’4” (4.67 meters), and was only a bit over six inches behind the champion of the tightly-contested triple jump.

Bonderer gave Sharp a decent tussle in the 1,600, finishing less than four seconds behind in 5:59.19, and later ran the 800 in 2:43.68, over 16 seconds back in half the distance.

The other CHS girls second-place finish was created by Madison Albaugh, Delaney May, Kadence Shipers, and Bonderer in the 3,200 relay. Their 11:08.02 time was a scant 1.43 seconds slower than Cameron’s winning time.

The only third place was in the aforementioned 1,600 relay, which also involved D. Ward, Albaugh, and Kaylynn Cranmer. The group’s time of 4:36.77 was just over two seconds behind winner Kirksville’s.

While the Lady Hornets didn’t deliver a lot of top-3 finishes, they “double-dipped” (two placing entries in an event) often enough to have seven events from which they reaped the equivalent of third-place points (six) or more.

Twice – with Emmy Dillon and Kirsten Dunn in the 300-meters low hurdles and Aliyah Briner and Shipers in the 3,200 – they had a 9-points haul (the equivalent of tying for first), second-most to the 12 they gleaned from the 1,600 when Briner’s fifth supported Bonderer’s second place.

It was the Briner-Shipers combination in the 3,200 meters that mathematically clinched the team crown for the Lady Hornets.

Also scoring in double figures for the CHS girls was sophomore thrower Hope Helton. She was fourth in both the discus and javelin throws, depositing 10 very important points in the Lady Hornets’ account.

In the boys’ division, Simmer provided the only “gold medal” Chillicothe performance when he avenged – in a manner – his close second-place finish in the 1,600 by winning the 3,200 a couple of hours later.

In the 1,600, after leading the first two circuits of the Litton Stadium all-weather track, he was passed by a Kirksville foe, Samuel Ammerman, and, despite pushing hard all the way to the finish line, could not track him down. Ammerman won in 4:54.77, 3.22 seconds ahead of the Chillicothe senior.

When he stepped on the track for his other race, Simmer might have anticipated a rematch with Ammerman, but instead found himself taking on a different KHS Tiger, Jack Marlin, as well as again dueling Cameron’s Tyler Husch, who’d been fourth in the 1,600.

With twice as much ground to cover, Simmer handily disposed of the new Kirksville runner and had only to outlast Husch. He did so, crossing the finish line first by a couple of dozen meters in 11:08.45. Husch was second in 11:14.81.

The 2-miles-plus latter race not only was the Hornets’ lone event triumph, but also marked its best points haul, since junior Byron George backed up his eighth place in the 1,600 with a fourth place in the 3,200. That tacked 15 points onto the Hornets’ total, officially cementing them in third place in the final team standings.

Kelow, who almost undoubtedly will file Fraser’s name into his memory bank for a possible rematch in the discus and shot put as seniors in 2022, nevertheless to perform solidly in those throws.

While coming up a few feet short of his season-best to date in the discus, the Chillicothe still fired it an impressive 152’8” (46.54m), only to have Fraser throw 157’9”.

In the shot put, Fraser’s margin was significantly wider. The Kirksville behemoth pumped the steel ball 53’6-1/4” (16.31m), 10’1” farther than Kelow’s best (13.24m).

Simmer and Kelow proved to be the Hornets’ only double-digits scorers. CHS had four “double-dip” events – the two races with Simmer and George, the discus throw with Kelow and fifth-place Isaiah Sprong, and the pole vault, in which Gavin Funk and Rudy Yutzy were fourth and fifth, respectively.

The meet also saw the Chillicothe boys roll out relay squads for all four relays for the first time this spring. The best finish – fourth place – came in the 1,600 relay. The 3,200 unit took seventh and the 400 quartet eighth. CHS did not score in the 800 relay.

The next outing – their first on the road after four at home – for Chillicothe’s cinders squads was due to be yesterday’s “Hoot” Morgan Relays at Richmond, followed by Friday’s Boonville Invitational.