Lexington sweeps annual Chillicothe cross country running meet crowns
Host boys place third, girls only fifth in Tuesday’s hot conditions
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
With a 1-day return to very hot temperatures, the 2021 Chillicothe Invitational cross country running meet this past Tuesday (Sept. 7) took an unusually-significant physical toll on a noteworthy number of participants. Runners from Lexington High School unexpectedly exacted their own toll on opponents of both genders.
Dehydration and other heat-stress reactions to the hotter-than-anticipated race conditions led to a handful of participants or more collapsing after finishing the race or during it and requiring significant assistance from Chillicothe EMTs already on the scene as a precaution and additional ones summoned to Simpson Park to care for the surprising numbers of overcome runners.
Overcoming is something both Lexington’s girls’ and boys’ teams did very well in the actual competition.
Facing some schools of similar and smaller size, but also about a handful of larger and much-larger schools’ teams, the Minutemen and Minutewomen swept the team titles and had the two fastest runners on the day.
Behind boys’ champion senior Kerrick Adkins and junior runnerup Alex Worthington, the Minutemen posted a team total of 52 points, well ahead of second-place Kirksville’s 80. Adkins, whose younger sister Mary Beth was part of the scoring group for the LHS distaff victors, finished in 19:25.6 in Lexington’s first meet of the year.
In a bit of a surprise, the unheralded host Chillicothe Hornets took third out of nine teams with 92 points, propelled there by freshman Cain Evans’ breakout seventh-place finish in 19:58.2.
On the girls’ side, run prior to the boys’, while Brookfield sisters Samantha and Alexandra Sharp ran away from the field to finish 1-2, in that order, they were the only BHS Lady Bulldogs competing. Freshman “Sam” won the race in 20:59.5, while senior 2019 Class 1 state champion “Alex” ran a 21;14.1.
That opened the door for Lexington, with its five fastest all being in the top 35 overall, to slip in and capture the team crown with 62 points, 12 better than much-smaller Glasgow. Kirksville was third at 79 and Moberly fourth at 84.
Chillicothe’s Lady Hornets, thought beforehand to be serious contenders for the team title, instead settled for fifth place with 88 points. The Lady Hornets were led by senior Kadence Shipers’ 13th-place time of 24:44 for the 5,000 meters distance.
For Chillicothe, Evans’ race and high finish was a pleasing eye-opener for the Jennifer Dickson-coached squads. His time was only about a half-minute off that of the champion’s and his seventh-place finish netted him his first high school varsity-meet medal. He dropped 45 seconds off his time in CHS’ opening meet of the season at Maryville the previous week, when he also led the Hornets.
Again second through the finishing chute for the Hornets Tuesday was sophomore Austin Lyford, who took 17th in 20:41.6. After missing the opening meet, junior Clayton Savage, the top 2020 returnee for CHS’ boys, ran a 21:13.2 to be 24th.
Two freshmen completed the Chillicothe scoring set. Carter Shipers was 36th in 22:20.9 and Alton Keller 39th (out of 92 runners) in 22:42.5.
A sixth Hornet ran in the varsity race. Logan Gregory was 55th in 24:31.
Among the Lady Hornets, junior 2-times state-meet qualifier Aliyah Briner crossed the finish line in 25:13.6, good for 15th place individually, two places behind K. Shipers.
Another 11th grader, Juliann Gabrielson, took 25th in 26:36.7 and freshman Yoo Jung Lee finished 28th in 27:12.4. Completing the Chillicothe lineup was sophomore Alice Hurtgen, who had a tougher day than in the opener at Maryville. She needed 34:47.6 to complete the Simpson Park race circuit twice, more than seven minutes more than in the previous race.
Next on the Chillicothe harriers’ docket is the Thursday, Sept. 16, Platte County Invitational.