Quintet of CHS harriers at state cross country meets today

Evans, Lyford in 1:30 p.m. race, Shipers, Gabrielson, Lee to run at 2:15

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

A Chillicothe High School senior, a junior, a sophomore, and two freshmen will be in Columbia today to compete in the Class 3 cross country running state championships.

Representing the red-and-black will be second-time state-meet participants and troupe “elder stateswomen” Kadence Shipers and Juliann Gabrielson, the senior and junior, respectively, of the state quintet.

Having their first competitive exposure will be sophomore Austin Lyford and ninth graders Yoo Jung Lee of the Lady Hornets and Cain Evans of the Hornets.

“So very excited to have five runners qualify individually, three of which will get to experience state cross country for the first time!” Dickson commented after the fivesome qualified for running at state during last Saturday’s district meet at St. Joseph.

“We look forward to spending this weekend on the beautiful Gans Creek Course,” just southeast of Columbia.

CHS’ last medal-winner (top-25 finisher) at a state meet was Layne Worman in 2016, when he placed 24th.

While being the youngest of the advancing CHS group, Evans and Lee were the highest-finishing Chillicothe qualifiers in the District 4 meet at Missouri Western State University.

Each placed 18th – Evans in 19:15.6 and Lee in 23:22.7 for the 5-kilometers (approximately 3.11 miles) race up and down the hills and hollows of the east St. Joseph college’s new on-campus course.

Gabrielson took 20th in the girls’ division with a 23:31.7 clocking, while Shipers – battling through a head cold, Dickson reported – was 22nd in 23:34.1.

Lyford came the closest of the Chillicothe quintet to missing out. He was 27th in the boys’ division in 19:34.8. He had about a 10-seconds margin over the first non-qualifier.

Advancement of three girls’ individuals, but not the team, to state is a Lady Hornets “first.”

The last time multiple Chillicothe girls went to state in a non-team-qualifying scenario was 2002 when Kelly Gengelbach and Candice Taylor went. A couple of prior occasions saw two Lady Hornets run at state, but never three.

Similarly, it’s been a while since the CHS boys had more than one individual state participant without the team advancing.

In 2011, both Broc Graves and Andrew Jensen ran at state. The last Hornets team to go was the 2015 squad.