Golf Lady Hornets Midland Empire Conference champs
Edge Maryville by two shots, Savannah by four for first league title since 2005
ST. JOSEPH — For the first time in 16 years, Chillicothe High School’s golf Lady Hornets are the Midland Empire Conference Tournament champions.
With two of the eight MEC schools (St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond and Kansas City: St. Pius X) not participating the sport this fall and St. Joseph: Lafayette having a single player competing in Monday’s tournament at the St. Joseph Country Club, junior Skyler Powers’ 100 paced the Lady Hornets to a 2-shots triumph over Maryville. Savannah was another two swings back of Maryville.
Using the scores from the rounds played by the top four players in its lineup – Powers, Izzie Montgomery, Clara Leamer, and Abbey Hayen – CHS posted a low-4 team score of 444, just ahead of the Lady Spoofhounds’ 446. Just last Thursday on Chillicothe’s home course, MHS had out-shot the Lady Hornets by eight strokes, 420-428, earning third place in the Chillicothe Invitational.
The runnerup team in last week’s Chillicothe tourney, Cameron, had the exact same five players it used to shoot a 397 on Chillicothe’s Green Hills Golf Course competing in the conference tourney Monday, but will vastly different results. The Lady Dragons exceeded their CIT team total by nearly 100 strokes with a 495, leaving them last in the 5-teams standings behind third-place Savannah (448) and fourth-place St. Joseph: Benton (464).
For Chillicothe, it is its first MEC Championships team crown since the 2005 state-runnerup CHS team ruled the league roost by shooting a 340, a whopping 64-strokes lower than the second-place MEC squad.
While context – such as the absence of three member schools from the team competition, Cameron’s precipitous fall-off, and relative quality of the participating players – might dull the sheen of their accomplishment a tad, there’s nothing this year’s Lady Hornets could change about those circumstances and nothing for which to apologize, in terms of laying claim to the title and trophy.
Entering as the team’s top player to date and especially of late, Powers’ strong-finishing 54-46–100 gave her third place in the medalist standings. Savannah’s Mollee Olszowka was the easy medalist with an 88 and Caitlyn Auffert of Maryville was second with a 93.
Given the advantage over Chillicothe that Olszowka and Auffert gave their respective squads, it was the rest of the Lady Hornets’ lineup which turned the tide their way.
Montgomery, who played on the CHS volleyball team as a freshman and sophomore, made her debut in conference-tourney competition notably productive, carding a 51-52–103 which put her sixth on the medalist list.
Also putting in a top-10 finish in the mere-26-players field was senior Clara Leamer, like Montgomery a first-year prep golfer. She also got better as her round went along, shooting a 62-53–115 that left her ninth individually.
That Powers-Montgomery-Leamer trio held a 6-strokes lead over Maryville’s lowest three and was seven better than Savannah’s, creating some cushion for Chillicothe with its fourth-best score.
That ended up being provided by senior Abbey Hayen, who had a steady 63-63–126 which, while considerably above her season average, was only four strokes higher than Maryville’s fourth-best score and three higher than Savannah’s.
That meant a narrowing of the Chillicothe margin, but not it’s disappearance, leaving the Lady Hornets as 2021 MEC links queens.
Chillicothe’s other player in the tournament was its other senior and a third first-year player. Like Powers and Leamer, Essie Hicks got better as the day went along, finishing the 18-holes layout in 72-63–135 that was not used in the team-score computation.
Chillicothe’s girls hosted Lawson and Hamilton players Thursday and will welcome at least Brookfield to Green Hills Golf Course for CHS’ final regular-season competition Tuesday.