Chillicothe HS cross country runners' state showings familiar

Four of five have 'PRs' as Evans paces Hornets, Shipers Lady Hornets with mid-pack finishes Saturday

As reported to C-T
In the concluding race of her Chillicothe High School cross country running career, senior Kadence Shipers ran, by far, a career-fastest time of 21:52.3  in the Class 3 state meet at Columbia last Saturday.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Running times which, for most, were the fastest of their careers – whether those careers are just underway or wrapping up, Chillicothe High School’s quintet of Class 3 state cross country running championships last Saturday brought the program’s 2021 season to a successful close, even if none contended for a state-meet medal.

While Hornets freshman Cain Evans’ 83rd place out of 170 runners was CHS’ highest finish, a comparison of senior Lady Hornet Kadence Shipers’ performance to what she did at state as a junior brings some helpful perspective to the Chillicothe showings on the Gans Creek Cross Country Running Course this past weekend.

A year ago, as a member of the CHS girls’ team which participated, Shipers placed 89th among 153 finishers of the 5-kilometers (approximately 3.11 miles race across natural terrain.

This past weekend, as one of three Lady Hornets competing individually, she elevated her finish by only four spots to 85th, despite her career-fastest time of 21:52.3.

Shipers’ clocking in her final CHS cross country race was almost exactly a minute faster than the 22:53 she ran on the same course 12 months earlier. It also was two minutes faster than her fourth-place time in the recent Midland Empire Conference Championships and just over 1-1/2 minutes quicker than her state-qualifying, 22nd-place district-meet time the weekend before. Both the MEC and district races occurred on the same, apparently-hillier, course on the campus of Missouri Western State University at St. Joseph.

Shipers’ Lady Hornets teammate Julian Gabrielson, the only other CHS runner among this year’s state qualifiers who had competed at state previously, had a somewhat-similar, but less dramatic, experience Saturday.

After being 97th in 23:06 as a sophomore, she was about 25 seconds faster to complete the course this – posting a 22:40.6, but her place finish sank a bit to 109th. She ran about 50 seconds ahead of her qualifying time at district.

Rounding out the CHS girls’ trio of state-meet runners was freshman Yoo Jung Lee. She led the team for the first time ever when she ran the district layout in 23:22.7, but followed her two teammates through the state chute Saturday in 117th place, even though her state-course time of 22:52.7 was a half-minute faster than she ran at St. Joseph.

Sophomore Austin Lyford of the 2021 Chillicothe High School cross country running Hornets was one of two team members to compete in the Class 3 state meet at Columbia last Saturday. Missing his career-best time by less than two seconds, he finished 150th in 19:21.5.

*On the boys’ side, Evans dramatically lowered his time which had been 18th-fastest at district, cutting more than a minute off that 19:15.6 clocking to finish the state race in 18:10.6. That was about 35 seconds faster than then-senior Hayden Simmer, the CHS boys’ lone state runner in 2020, ran in finishing 97th.

Evans’ sophomore teammate on the Hornets, Austin Lyford, also made his state debut Saturday, running a creditable 19:21.5 that came within two seconds of beating his previous best. His time left him 150th among the 170 runners.