Hornets post first cross country running win since 2015

Are champs of Tuesday meet at Cameron behind four top-11 finishers

As reported to C-T

The fast-improving Chillicothe High School cross country running Hornets ended a 6-years-plus drought between meet titles Tuesday.

Last champions of a meet in September 2015’s Duane Kimble Invitational hosted by St. Joseph: Benton, the 2021 Hornets had four of the top 11 finishers in Tuesday’s Cameron Invitational to handily take the top spot in the 7-teams standings with a fastest-5 scoring total of 33. Second-place North Platte, which had the meet’s top two individual finishers, had 73  points.

With a bounce-back performance from one of their best who had been ailing of late, CHS’ Lady Hornets made a strong bid for a Chillicothe sweep of the meet’s laurels, but, with 34 points, finished 10 back of team champion North Platte.

CHS’ volleyball Lady Hornets split early-week home matches – their last two home appearances of the season, defeating Hamilton: Penney in straight games Monday and losing to St. Joseph Christian 3-1 Tuesday.

CROSS COUNTRY RUNNING

CAMERON — Working and training to reach an initial peak for this coming week’s Midland Empire Conference Championships, the CHS harriers seem to be on schedule.

Running the course over Cameron’s Veterans Memorial Golf Course this past Tuesday, the Hornets got a third place from freshman Cain Evans, seventh and eighth places from sophomore Austin Lyford and Carter Shipers – another frosh, and junior Clayton Savage’s 11th place to end the team-victory famine.

“Fast course with a few hills, perfect weather, and great footing for our runners,” coach Jennifer Dickson described the setting before turning her focus to how the CHS runners dealt with them.

“They blew me away with how well they ran!” she proclaimed. “They all felt great and almost everyone had a career PR (personal-record time).”

That was true on both sides of the gender divide, where not only did senior team leader Kadence Shipers finish in a career-fastest 22:33 for the five kilometers, but junior Juliann Gabrielson – recalling her outstanding form of the past two seasons – broke 23 minutes for the first time in her career, shattering that psychological barrier with a 22:39.

All told, of Chillicothe’s 13 varsity-level entries, nine – Stephen Parkes, Yoo Jung Lee, Alice Hurtgen, Gabrielson, Lyford, Savage, Evans, K. Shipers, and C. Shipers – delivered career-best times, notes Dickson. C. Shipers ran under 20 minutes for the first time in his fledgling career, as did veteran Savage. All three junior-varsity Hornets also had new PRs.

“Fantastic night!” the high-energy coach summarized.

Going into some depth on the training approach which is generating the steadily-peaking performances, Dickson detailed, “Train hard, recover hard is the process and, with four meets in 10 days, we really focused a lot on the purpose of each day in the training process.

“They're doing a great job of pushing it hard when needed and taking is easy when needed and it is showing. We take our ‘easy’ days easy, so we can maximize on really ‘hard’ days.”

She also praised the mental development of the many younger runners, especially on the boys’ team.

“Multiple times in the boys’ race I told boys they had to pass the kid in front of them (usually a North Platte kid) for us to win and, in every single instance, they did!

“It really is a team effort and I love that, when I say during a race the team needs this done, they will do whatever they can to make it happen. They're such a focused, determined, hard-working group of kids and I love seeing all of that pay off for them!”

The CHS runners and their times and finishes were:

BOYS – Evans (3rd, 18:25), Lyford (7th, 19:20), C. Shipers (8th, 19:32), Savage (11th, 19:36), S. Parkes (15th, 20:01), Logan Gregory (1st JV, 20:43), Alton Keller (24th, 21:08.9), Landyn Peterson (3rd JV, 21:22), Ashton Baker (43rd, 22:23.1), Cutter Parkes (5th JV, 22:22).

GIRLS – K. Shipers (7th, 22:33), Gabrielson (8th, 22:39), Aliyah Briner (10th, 22:54), Lee (11th, 23:01), Hurtgen (13th, 23:39), Karissa Fostek (34th, 28:08.2).

At the middle school level, Chillicothe’s boys also prevailed in the team competition. They were led by individual champion Luke Thompson with Lake Englert second, Litton Gabrielson third, and Brennen Fitzpatrick eighth.

CMS’ Lydia Gabrielson was third in the girls’ race with Sophie Hurtgen seventh and Indy Ulmer 10th, Dickson reports.

CHS’ squads had another outing Thursday.

“We look forward to a new meet on our schedule Thursday - Warrensburg,” Dickson reported. “It will be the largest meet we attend all season and we are excited to experience some more tough, fast competition! “

VOLLEYBALL

The CHS volleyball Lady Hornets had a chance to bring their season’s record to .500 with a home win Tuesday before heading out for a last couple of road matches and then district-tournament action, but, despite winning a marathon second game, lost 3-1 to St. Joseph Christian.

The Lady Hornets journeyed to Maryville Thursday for Midland Empire Conference play against last year’s Class 3 state champs. Next, they will visit St. Joseph: Benton Tuesday for their league and overall regular-season finale.

After starting very sluggishly Tuesday in an 11-25 game-1 blowout, the Lady Hornets (11-13) recovered and evened the match. After the second game was squared at 24-all, it went on that way – tied at 25, 26, and so on – until the Lady Hornets followed up winning the game’s 61st rally for a 31-30 advantage by capturing the next one also. That meant a 32-20 Chillicothe victory and a tie match at 1-1.

The pivotal third game was played on relatively close terms, but St. Joseph Christian’s Lady Lions closed it out at 25-21 and then had a slightly-easier time of it in the fourth game, taking it 25-16 to secure the match triumph.

Statistically for CHS, Lady Hornets second-year head coach Bob Long reports, Madison Bergan and Delanie Kieffer shared the team lead in floor defense with 19 digs apiece. On offense, Jessica Reeter earned 13 assists and Halle Hill nine, helping set up Gracie West’s CHS-most 12 “kills” (spikes) and 10 by Anna Fisher. Fisher had a couple of service aces to top the Lady Hornets as St. Joseph Christian had few problems forcing nearly every Chillicothe service point into a rally.

At home Monday, Chillicothe High School’s volleyball Lady Hornets registered an ultra-consistent 25-7, 25-7, 25-7 victory over Hamilton: Penney’s Lady Hornets.

On CHS’ “Senior Night,” with Makayla Vance, Claire Ripley, and West the honorees, the hosts held a comfortable lead in the first game when the serve rotated to junior hitter Fisher.

With Hamilton largely unable to even get a hefty percentage of her serves back across the net, Chillicothe captured about a dozen points in a row to take the game 25-7, setting the evening’s template. Fisher eventually was recorded for a team-most 17 service aces in the match.

Seniors Ripley and West notched a team-high three “kills” (spikes) each, as did junior Trista Tipton, who also paced CHS with seven defensive “digs” and six assists. Madison Albaugh chipped in seven other aces.

That 11th victory in Bob Long’s second year as head coach established the program’s largest wins total since 2016’s 20-7-1 campaign and equaled the second-most since 2012.