Banner Day for Chillicothe (Mo.) HS Fall Sports Teams Tuesday

Paul Sturm
With a good bit of distance between her and the closest trailing runner, junior Kadence Shipers of the 2020 Chillicothe (Mo.) HS cross country running Lady Hornets strides up a gravel path in Chillicothe's Simpson Park Tuesday (Sept. 8) on her way to a 10th-place finish and personal fastest-ever time of 22:34.1 in the annual Chillicothe Invitational meet.

CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Although the weather wasn’t the best, considering the heat and humidity which dominated the Chillicothe climate for much of late August and early September, the cloud cover, chillier temperatures, and threat of precipitation had far from a derogatory impact on Chillicothe High School athletes in competition Tuesday (Sept. 8).

Four 2020 CHS varsity squads were in action – another which originally was scheduled to be had to “sit this one out,” thanks to COVID-19’s impact on its planned opponent – and had successful showings.

The annual Chillicothe Invitational cross country running meet, along with home competitions for the girls’ tennis and softball squads, were able to finish before the significant rain arrived in early evening and each of those CHS teams prospered, as did the volleyball Lady Hornets, who were safely indoors when the skies opened.

Three Lady Hornets and one Hornet placed in the top 15 in their respective divisions of the home cross country race and six of CHS’ nine total varsity-race entrants finished in the fastest times of their careers.

Across town in north Chillicothe, the softball Lady Hornets did all of their scoring in the first inning as they topped fill-in foe Hamilton: Penney 3-1 and the tennis Lady Hornets predictably routed St. Joseph: Lafayette 8-1 in a conference match.

The day wrapped up with the CHS spikers handily dispatching guest Brookfield in straight games of 25-9, 25-10, 25-6.

Not played Tuesday was soccer action at St. Joseph: Lafayette, due to that school’s team having too many players currently in quarantine, according to CHS director of athletics Dan Nagel.

The same was true for the Lafayette softball team which was due to visit town. That prompted the rearrangement with Hamilton stepping into the void.

Cross country runners post plenty of bests in lone home outing

Sixty-six percent of Chillicothe High School’s cross country runners who participated in Tuesday’s annual Chillicothe Invitational meet parlayed the much-cooler temperatures and lesser relative humidity into the best race times they’ve ever had in CHS competition.

A half-dozen of CHS’s nine harriers posted “PRs” (personal records) over the 5-kilometers distance, even though a fifth place was the best individual finish any of them could post.

“These kids have been working hard and really pushing themselves through some tough workouts in the heat lately,” first-year CHS coach Jennifer Dickson reacted. “I knew when the weather cooled off, they were going to fly and they did today – six ‘PRs’ on our home course!

“So proud of their effort, drive, and grit. I'm so excited to see where they go this season.”

Chillicothe’s highest individual finishers in each gender division – sophomore Aliyah Briner and senior Hayden Simmer – were not among those who ran their fastest times ever in Tuesday’s overcast conditions.

Briner claimed fifth place among the girls in 21:56 and H. Simmer was 12th among the boys in 19:17, according to official race results posted online.

Joining Briner in the top 10 and thus earning a meet medal was junior Kadence Shipers, whose 22:34 was her “PR.” Only three spots behind her was sophomore teammate Juliann Gabrielson in 23:15.

They all finished far behind runaway girls’ division champion Alex Sharp of Brookfield. She was electronically clocked in 19:52.6, almost 50 seconds ahead of the runnerup. Although not researched yet at the time of the initial posting of this story, the repeat champ’s time might have been the fastest ever for a girl in the 15-plus years of Chillicothe meet.

Rounding out the CHS girls’ distaff roster was sophomore Kaylynn Cranmer’s personal-best 25:28. That placed her a respectable 37th out of 60 entrants.

On the boys’ side, where Nebraska move-in Austin Lyford was able to make his CHS debut after getting the required number of practices under his belt since last week’s season opener at Maryville, the Hornets were able to generate a team score by having a handful of runners.

Even with H. Simmer’s top-12 showing and Clayton Savage’s 28th in a PR 20:13, the host boys wound up eighth among the nine schools with enough boys for a team total.

Lyford took 57th place out of 93 total runners with his 22:41, while Gavin Funk, at 23:10, and Kade Simmer, at 24:54, also completed the approximately-3.1-miles race faster than they’d ever done before.

“Great showing for our runners at our home invitational, despite a large and fast field with 30 (participating schools)!” the always-enthused Dickson complimented.

With three of the top four racers and four of the fastest seven, defending meet champion Kirksville easily ruled the boys’ team roost with a team score of 27. Moberly was runnerup at 66 points. That order was inverted in the girls’ division where Moberly’s 17 points showed the way in the 3-teams field. Kirksville was second with 44.

Next on the Chillicothe long-distance harriers’ docket is the Sept. 17 Platte County Invitational.

Tuesday’s meet in Simpson Park was capped with middle school races for girls and boys.

Chillicothe had one of the two boys’ teams and seven of the 20 entrants, leading to a team championship over Salisbury with 20 points.

A Glasgow runner took the boys’ division win with CMS’ Carter Shipers second, Luke Thompson third, Cain Evans sixth, Cutter Parkes eighth, and Landyn Peterson ninth.

Not involved in determining the young Hornets’ team score were 11th-place Alton Keller and 18th-place Dierk Brown.

Four CMS girls were among the 17 runners in their shorter race. Lydia Gabrielson placed fourth, Anna Pfaff sixth, Yoo Jung Lee seventh, and Karissa Fostek 12th, results show.

Volleyball repeats 2-0 start of 2019 with home whitewash

Now that they’ve matched the 2-0 start of their predecessor, Chillicothe’s 2020 volleyball Lady Hornets will go about trying to make the rest of their season go better than last year.

Hosting Brookfield Tuesday in a varsity/junior-varsity doubleheader, CHS backed up a one-sided JV triumph with a dominating, straight-games 25-9, 25-10, 25-6 verdict over the Lady Bulldogs in the varsity match.

“The Lady Hornets dominated the evening with 49 (service) aces,” Chillicothe first-year head coach Bob Long detailed.

Statistical leaders for the Lady Hornets (2-0) included junior hitter Essie Hicks with match-highs of 11 aces and six “kills” (spikes) and sophomore setter Jessica Reeter with 13 assists and six aces.

Two of three senior team members honored before the match on “Senior Night” had significant numbers that aided the victory. Haylee Coplen paired five assists and five aces and Maya Snyder served nine aces and added a couple of kills. Also recognized beforehand was Ella Leamer.

Junior hitter/blocker Gracie West chipped in a handful of kills and frosh Delanie Kieffer served a half-dozen aces.

The CHS spikers, who tumbled to a 9-14-1 mark last year after their 2-0 beginning, will commence Midland Empire Conference action Thursday at Kansas City: St. Pius X.

Softball girls somehow solve Hamilton hex

Maybe it was the mist.

Under a heavily-overcast sky with a couple of brief sprinkles and a feel of precipitation hanging in the air throughout, lots of pitches were swung at and missed during Tuesday’s hastily-arranged contest at Daryl Danner Memorial Park.

With western neighbor Hamilton: Penney having agreed only days before to substitute for COVID-19-quarantined St. Joseph: Lafayette, pitchers Kinlei Boley of CHS and Julia Kanoy of Penney dictated the action – or lack thereof – in the clash of Lady Hornets, fanning 27 batters in a game which somehow ended as a 3-1 Chillicothe triumph.

The hosts managed to post their first victory over the perennially-sharp Hamilton team since 2014 despite being out-hit 4-2, making three errors to Penney’s one, and making 14 of their 18 outs via whiffs on senior lefty Kanoy’s deliveries.

The key to the outcome was that CHS (2-3) merged both of its hits, one of only two walks Kanoy issued, two wild pitches, and the lone Hamilton error into one inning – the bottom of the first.

Following a game-starting walk to Sophia Luetticke, a wild pitch and a stolen base had her at third base with one out when Boley delivered a hit up the middle for a 1-0 Chillicothe lead.

Boley then stole second, took third on a groundout, and crossed the plate when another pitch went to the backstop.

With two out and none on, the host Lady Hornets received the game’s only extra-base hit and turned it into a third tally. Sophomore Kirsten Dunn whacked an opposite-field drive over the right fielder’s head and dashed all the way to third base. As she did, Hamilton’s attempt to cut her down there went awry as an error let her dart home for a 3-0 margin.

Sophomore righthander Boley, who fanned 12 herself, made those three runs stand up, aided by her defense producing a couple of key outs on Penney baserunners.

As she had in her most-recent start at Lawson last week, Boley retired each of the first nine batters she faced Tuesday. This time, she extended that run of success to 10 before the potential perfect game and no-hitter were ended by Morgan Hartley’s single on a 1-2 pitch.

While the next at-bat was occurring, Chillicothe cut down Hartley trying to steal second, negating the impact of the hosts’ first of three errors that immediately followed. That baserunner did swipe second successfully, but was stranded on a groundout to third baseman Halle Rucker.

The top of the fifth saw Hamilton’s Hayleigh Huff lead off with a single. However, when Mary Brown’s follow-up long, high drive to right-center field landed just in front of the fence as two Chillicothe outfielders tried to converge on it, Huff, with her team down by three, wisely played it conservatively halfway between first and second until the ball fell safely.

However, because center fielder Luetticke pounced on the carom off the fence so quickly, the lead runner couldn’t risk trying to beat the already-underway relay throw to third and settled in at second.

Unfortunately for the guests, Brown had focused her sights on whether the well-hit ball would fall for a hit. When it did, she rounded first base and headed for second, expecting to have to beat the outfielder’s throw there for a double while anticipating her teammate to be en route to third. When she realized second base already was occupied, her retreat toward first was unable to beat Dunn’s cutoff of Luetticke’s throw behind second base and peg to first baseman Brooke Horton, who had the ball waiting for the retreating Hamilton batter-runner.

Instead of being in a first-and-second or second-and-third, no-outs jam, Boley had an out in the inning with only one foe on base. She froze that runner at second with two of her dozen strikeouts to keep Hamilton off the scoreboard again.

Were it not for a 2-outs miscue in the sixth, the CHS 10th grader likely would have been rewarded for her strong hurling with a shutout. However, a 3-bases throwing error on a routine grounder set up a high-bouncing RBI single up the middle from Madi Allen, drawing PHS within 3-1.

In the seventh, a 1-out fielding error allowed the visitors to bring consecutive batters to the dish representing the potential tying run, but Boley had things in hand. She got strikeout No. 12 on the day looking, then induced a popup between home plate and the pitcher’s circle that she jogged in to easily glove for the final out.

Statistically, Boley’s strong results were more about her ability to battle from behind in the count. She got strike one on the first pitch from barely half (14) of the 26 PHS batters, yet found the strike zone or induced the ball to be put in play or fouled on 70 of her other 83 offerings. She did not walk anyone and was not charged with any earned runs.

Kanoy surpassed Boley’s strikeouts total even while throwing one less inning and having 38 of her 104 pitches be outside the strike zone. Reflecting her lesser control, the southpaw gave out two bases on balls and hit another.

Given that the teams combined for only six hits, it’s unsurprising that no player had multiple hits.

Now on a 2-games inning streak after starting the season with three defeats, Chillicothe next is due to host Princeton this Saturday at 3 p.m.

Tennis Lady Hornets make quick work of Lafayette

While two St. Joseph: Lafayette teams (softball, boy’s soccer) had too many players quarantined Tuesday, due to the coronavirus, to keep scheduled dates with Chillicothe, the Lady Irish tennis squad did make the trip east, but might as well have saved the gas.

CHS’ Lady Hornets, with a remade lineup, won all three doubles sets – each of them at least marginally competitive – and then were more convincing in singles as they picked up an 8-1 MEC dual triumph.

Chillicothe (3-1, 2-1 conf.) netted its initial triumphant No. 1 doubles decision this season with a new tandem of holdover Delaney May and sophomore Cami Carpenter. They defeated Rowan Davis and Brooklyn Lorenz 8-3. Carpenter previously was a perfect 3-0 in No. 2 doubles with Leah Lourenco.

Junior Lourenco continued her undefeated early-season ways, following an 8-5 No. 2 doubles verdict with new partner Megan Sisson with an 8-1 No. 4 singles romp. Lourenco now is 4-0 in both singles and doubles.

Wrapping up doubles play with their own 8-3 decision were freshman Rylee Washburn and junior Olivia Anderson.

With the match victory seemingly inevitable after the CHS sweep of doubles, May boosted her No. 1 singles mark to 3-1 by dispatching Davis 8-3, the same score by which Washburn won at No. 5.

Joining Lourenco in posting an 8-1 singles blowout was Sisson at No. 3.

The closest set of the match was in No. 2 doubles, but Carpenter out-fought her opponent 8-6 to snare it.

Lafayette salvaged one set on the day as Chillicothe junior Audrey Snider dropped No. 6 singles 4-8.

All four junior-varsity sets were CHS triumphs.

The racquet Lady Hornets will be at home yet again Thursday, weather permitting, with non-MEC member Lexington the 4 p.m. opposition.

2020 Chillicothe (Mo.) HS cross country running Hornets senior Hayden Simmer (red jersey at center) finds some quick running space as he and the other 90-plus participants in the boys' varsity race in Tuesday's (Sept. 8) Chillicothe Invitational head up the opening incline in Simpson Park. Simmer placed 12th, finishing the five kilometers in 19:17.5.