Chillicothe (Mo.) HS Tennis Turnaround Continues in Home Opener
Hornets netters handle Bishop LeBlond convincingly; track-and-field teams win four events, each place fourth in team standings at Richmond
Chillicothe (Mo.) High School’s 2021 tennis Hornets might have begun this season as green as the grass is getting, but they’re making big strides in a hurry.
Gaining confidence with each outing, the Hornets put together a third-straight strong Midland Empire Conference performance Tuesday (April 13) in their first home appearance, gaining a second-consecutive MEC victory, this one by a decisive 7-2 margin over St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond.
Chillicothe (2-3 overall, 2-1 conf.) stormed from the starting gate for a second-straight day, sweeping the three doubles sets, but this time followed it up not with so-so results in singles, but with a solid 4-2 advantage in the solo play, capturing each of the top four positions.
Coach Bob Long’s doubles lineup recalibration again paid dividends in the sunny, but brisk, action on the Daryl Danner Memorial Park courts.
At No. 1, the elevated seniors combo of Carter Allen and Caleb Corbin outlasted BLHS’ Mason Kovac and Kaiden Baer 8-5, a margin similar to that produced at No. 3 slot by sophomores Gabe Peterson and Shayden Hawkins, who prevailed 8-4.
In between, juniors Chace Corbin and Emmett Young overwhelmed their opponents without losing a game, their 8-0 win giving both Hornets a chance to rest a good bit more than their singles foes.
That didn’t hurt Ch. Corbin at all as he improved his season record in No. 1 singles to 7-2 with an 8-3 conquest of Kovac.
Young wasn’t quite as fortunate on his own, dropping his No. 5 singles set 4-8.
Both Chillicothe 12th graders shrugged off their lengthy doubles battle to win by wide margins in singles. Ca. Corbin earned his third singles verdict in a row by an 8-1 count at No. 2 and Allen bested a more-rested foe 8-3.
Rounding out the match, Hawkins went to a tiebreaker in his No. 6 singles set before losing 8-9 (4).
Having debuted on their home courts, the Hornets head right back on the road Wednesday (April 14), making up a late March rainout at Savannah.
Against a mostly-different “cast of characters” from their own Chillicothe Joe Shy Relays meet the previous Friday, Chillicothe (Mo.) HS’ track-and-field teams each took fourth place in their gender’s team standings in this past Tuesday’s “Hoot” Middleton Relays at Richmond.
Champions of their own big meet a few days earlier, the Lady Hornets scored a similar team points total – 77 – at Richmond, but came up 40 behind champion Odessa. Sandwiched between were Lawson with 113-1/2 and Higginsville with 103.
In the boys’ division, CHS actually surpassed significantly its Joe Shy Relays count with 108 points, but trailed champion Richmond by 32 points. Lexington and Lawson shared second with 115 points apiece.
Individually, Chillicothe had more success in winning events than it did at home, when senior Hayden Simmer provided the lone first place in the boys’ 3,200-meters run.
Ironically, he finished only third in that race at Richmond Tuesday, but earlier he’d led the way in the 1,600 in 4:57.46, winning by over three seconds.
His triumph followed by minutes that of CHS freshman Jolie Bonderer in the girls’ 1,600. With teammate Aliyah Briner also scoring by placing seventh, Bonderer surged into the lead on the final lap and crossed the finish line in 5:58.81, also just over three ticks ahead of the runnerup.
Those were only half of Chillicothe’s event victories at Richmond.
In the 300-meters intermediate hurdles, junior Braxten Johnson ran a season-best 43.89 seconds time, 0.32 second ahead of the second-place finisher. Hornets freshman Gauge Chenet also scored in the event, taking sixth.
Finally, another CHS 11th grader, Damarcus Kelow, was tops in throwing the discus, hurling it 153’1” (46.66 meters), more than 20 feet farther than anyone else. He also took third in the shot put at 39’11-1/2” (12.18m), providing 16 points to the Hornets’ team cause.
Johnson’s intermediate hurdling win, his second place in the 110-meters high hurdles in 17.15 seconds, and his eighth in the long jump meant 19 team points, most by any Hornet Tuesday.
Classmate Quentin Cranmer was right behind Johnson, in terms of team points production, even though he didn’t capture any of the four events in which he participated.
He was third in both the triple jump (36’1-1/2”/11.01m) and 400-meters dash (54.48 seconds), fourth in the 200 (24.08), and anchored the fifth-place 1,600 relay unit.
On the girls’ side, supplementing her 1,600 win with a fourth in the 800 (2:45.53) and running on the third-place 1,600- and 3,200-meters relays, Bonderer matched Johnson’s 19 team points to lead the pack.
Emmy Dillon ran third in both hurdles races – the 100 highs in 18.55 seconds and the 300 lows in 54.11 – to notch 12 points for the Chillicothe girls.
Beyond the four event wins, CHS had only Johnson’s effort in the boys’ high hurdles as a runnerup finish.
In addition to the pair of Q. Cranmer and Dillon thirds, along with Kelow’s and Simmer’s, Chillicothe had Isaiah Sprong place third in the javelin throw at 113’10” (34.7m) and Briner in that position in the 3,200 (14:01.85). Also third were two relays – the girls’ 800 and 1,600.
On the subject of relays, the Lady Hornets’ 400-meters unit actually ran that race twice, due to an incident involving it and Kansas City’s Ewing M. Kauffman Charter School.
As those team’s third runners were handing the baton to the fourth and final participants, the “stick” slipped out of the grasp of the Kauffman girls in the third lane and skittered to the left into the second lane where Chillicothe was slightly behind the KC team.
Reflexively, the Kauffman anchor runner scurried after it to pick it up, putting her right in the path of unsuspecting Lady Hornets anchor Kayanna Cranmer, who was just turning to face forward and accelerate, having gotten the handoff from Bronlyn Ward.
The resulting contact and interruption of Cranmer’s progress led to, in addition to Kauffman’s disqualification for leaving its lane, the CHS group being given the chance to rerun the race by itself against the clock to establish a time which would then be slotted into the event standings.
Not surprisingly, Chillicothe accepted that chance and the quartet, which also involved Kirsten Dunn and Delaney May, circled the track once without exchange incident in 55.69 seconds. That turned out to be good for fourth place.
Other Chillicothe entrants placing in the top eight in an event and thereby scoring points included fourths by Belle Englert in the long and triple jumps, Kadence Shipers in the girls’ 3,200, Rudy Yutzy in the pole vault, and Sprong in the discus, fifths from Cayden Potter in the boys’ 400, Chenet in the high hurdles, and the boys’ 1,600 relay, sixths by Sam Reeter in the high jump, Hope Helton in the discus, and Javon Kille in the boys’ triple jump, sevenths by Cayleb Cothern in the high jump and the girls’ 800 relay, and eighths from the boys’ 3,200-meters relay group, Raegan May in the girls’ 400, Helton in the javelin, and Ward in the girls’ 100.
The Chillicothe track-and-field teams next will compete in the Boonville Invitational meet on Friday.