Tennis Lady Hornets off to decent start, win two of three

Lightly-seasoned golf girls began season past Monday

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
Leah Lourenco, 2021 Chillicothe High School tennis Lady Hornets senior and third-year varsity player, steps into a backhand shot during No. 1 doubles play during Wednesday's 6-3 home loss to Savannah. Although she and doubles partner Cami Carpenter suffered their first loss of the young season, Lourenco remained undefeated in singles, prevailing in her No. 3 set, using a tiebreaker to edge the same SHS opponent she beat in a tiebreaker in No. 4 singles a year ago.

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

With four returning starters from last year’s Class 1 district team champions and two others who saw a bit of varsity-level action in 2020, Chillicothe High School’s tennis Lady Hornets capitalized on that experience to claim their first two matches of the new season this week before a third-consecutive day of play generated defeat No. 1 of 2021.

Having vanquished Kirksville on the road to start the week and then blanked Cameron 9-0 to begin home play, the racquet Lady Hornets were knocked off 6-3 by guest Savannah in a second-straight Midland Empire Conference outing Wednesday.

Next on the CHS girls’ tennis slate is a 4 p.m. match at Trenton Monday.

At Kirksville Monday, junior Cami Carpenter – elevating to the top slot in the CHS lineup after playing No. 2 most of last year – added an 8-4 No. 1 singles victory over Gracie Riemenschneider to the 8-4 No. 1 doubles decision she and senior Leah Lourenco claimed.

Lourenco, a third-year starter, likewise won in both styles. She took the No. 3 singles by an 8-4 count, as well.

Also victorious in doubles for Chillicothe was the Rylee Washburn/Izzy Garr tandem, 8-2 in No. 2 play.

Sophomore Garr also had a perfect Monday when she orchestrated the Lady Hornets’ most-decisive conquest of the day –a 8-1 verdict at No. 6 singles.

2021 Chillicothe High School tennis Lady Hornets sophomore Izzy Garr sends a forehand shot toward the opposite end of the court during her and teammate Rylee Washburn's No. 2 doubles set against Savannah Wednesday. The tandem produced CHS' only win in doubles in the match and Garr also won in No. 6 singles, keeping her early-season record perfect in both styles.

The sixth Chillicothe triumph came from relative “newbie” Audrey Snider. Lightly-used last year, like Garr, the senior took the measure of her No. 5 singles opponent 8-4.

Snider teamed with returnee Olivia Anderson, also a 12th grader, for No. 3 doubles, a set Kirksville claimed 8-2. Anderson was defeated 8-3 in No. 4 singles, the same count by which sophomore Washburn lost at No. 2 spot.

A mismatch at home Tuesday saw the Lady Hornets dispatch Cameron 9-0 in MEC play, losing no more than two games in any set and winning five positions at love.

In No. 1 singles against Lena Oberwalleney, Carpenter romped 8-2, the same score by which Washburn took the No. 2 set. The other four singles sets were whitewashes for, in position order, Lourenco, Anderson, Snider and Garr.

Those followed Chillicothe cakewalks in doubles. Carpenter and Lourenco at No. 1 topped Cali Teel and Oberwalleney 8-1, the same count by which Washburn and Garr prevailed in the second position. Anderson and Snider began unblemished days with their 8-0 victory in No. 3 doubles.

Wednesday’s match with Savannah was very reminiscent of last year’s win by the Lady Savages. That 7-2 SHS triumph saw Chillicothe prevail at No. 2 doubles, as was repeated this week. A year ago, however, the Lady Hornets got only a No. 4 nod in singles, provided by Lourenco, who won again this year at No. 3, also on a tiebreaker.

The “extra” Chillicothe set win this time around came from Garr at No.  6, 8-6.

Last fall, Carpenter and Lourenco were CHS’ No. 2 pairing and they won 8-4 over Savannah’s second duo. With Savannah returning its same top tandem from 2020, the elevated Chillicothe combo lost by the same 8-2 count as SHS’ Iris Alvarez and Maddee Olszowka topped then-seniors Delaney May and Megan Sisson in ’20.

With half of Savannah’s No. 2 pairing being new, Washburn and Garr capitalized and posted an 8-5 victory. Both Garr and Savannah’s No. 2 newcomer – Abrianna Huffman – were junior-varsity players last year and, in fact, met in a jayvee doubles mini-set then, which SHS won.

The No. 3 doubles Wednesday was claimed by Savannah from CHS’ Anderson/Snider seniors duo by the same 8-2 margin as the No. 1 set.

When play shifted to singles, Alvarez, who had easily won the varsity girls’ division of the Maryville Invitational cross country running meet about 24 hours earlier, had plenty left in her tank to thrash Carpenter 8-3 in No. 1 position.

Lourenco met up again with Krynna Rudel at No. 3 singles, just as they had at No. 4 last season. Playing “overtime” a year ago before Lourenco prevailed on a 7-5 tiebreaker. This year, they again split the first 16 games to force the best-of-12-points tiebreaker, where the Lady Hornets maintained her spell on Rudel, just a little quicker; Lourenco won it Wednesday, 7-3.

Washburn dropped the No. 2 singles set 2-8, Anderson the No. 4 4-8, and Snider No. 5 2-8.

2021 Chillicothe High School golf Lady Hornets

Chillicothe (Mo.) Golf Lady Hornets Regrouping This Fall

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 last 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 were scheduled for their first home competition last Thursday when Trenton and Putnam County were to visit Green Hills Golf Course for dual matches. Tomorrow is slated to bring more home-course play at 4 p.m. with Hamilton and Southwest Livingston players as the opponents.