Chillicothe (Mo.) Golf Lady Hornets Regrouping This Fall
Graduation of 4-times state player leaves 2921 squad lean on experience
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
With not only a 4-times state-tournament qualifier and 2019 medal-winner graduated, but a senior, would-be third-year lineup member choosing to put in her time on other pursuits, the 2021 Chillicothe (Mo.) HS golf Lady Hornets debuted in Monday’s Maryville Invitational Tournament with last season’s second-leading player in tow, but otherwise a roster-full of question marks.
Minus ace talent Hallie Jones after her stellar 4-years run at the top of their lineup, the Lady Hornets’ six entries in that tournament was split 50-50 between returning veterans and total newcomers to the program.
When they piled into the vehicle for the long trip home from Nodaway County after a ninth-place finish in the team standings, they did have an encouraging performance from the best returnee on the new year’s roster.
Junior Skyler Powers, whose 56.7 strokes (per nine holes) average in 2020 was the Lady Hornets’ closest to Jones’ team-pacing 42.7, tied for 10th place with a personal raw score of 109, returning CHS coach Darren Smith reported. That’s about two strokes per nine lower than her average a year ago.
As for the rest of the Chillicothe entrants, the second-best 18-holes round came from an addition to the program who carries a surname accomplished in CHS golf annals.
After two years pursuing volleyball as a fall sports endeavor, junior Izzie Montgomery has grabbed a golf bag and swung her way into a probable spot in the varsity lineup for dual matches.
The younger sister of 3-times golf Hornets state qualifier Hayden Montgomery shot a personal 126 on the Mozingo Country Club course, second-best on the team ahead of the only full-time 2020 returnee other than Powers, Abbey Hayen. Hayen’s score was 128, very close to her junior year average of 125.
The other player Smith again has on hand from a year ago, junior Maddie Ellis, only played a few times last year before having to bow out during the COVID-19-crimped season. Seemingly in line for regular varsity use this fall, Ellis’ 130 at Maryville was virtually the same as her short-term average (128 per 18) in 2020.
Completing the three-duos Chillicothe entries list for Monday’s action were senior Clara Leamer and sophomore Anna Wallace. Leamer, like fellow senior Essie Hicks and Montgomery a volleyball Lady Hornet the past couple of years, tallied a 132 in her competitive golf debut and Wallace was right behind at 133.
“We are pretty inexperienced,” concedes Smith. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement from the start of practices (last month).
“I just want to see us continue to improve each day, so, by the time conference and district (tournaments) come around (in late September and early October), we can be very competitive.”
Additional hopefuls on the CHS 2021 roster include junior Morganne Tolle and freshmen Addie Englert, Reese Cooper, and Caylie Anderson.
Monday’s opening outing, as is customary for that tournament, involved each participating school entering six players in three pairings. While each player’s individual score on each hole is recorded and tallied for individual standings, each hole’s best score by the tandem is used to determine a best-ball score for the duo. Then, for team standings, the lowest two best-ball rounds of each school’s three entries are used to tabulate team scores and standings.
While Smith did not note which players he paired nor what each one’s best-ball total nor the team’s score was, Chillicothe placed ninth in the team standings, the coach disclosed.
The golf Lady Hornets will have their first home competition Thursday when Trenton and Putnam County send players to the Green Hills Golf Course for 4 p.m. dual matches.