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Chillicothe(Mo.) HS qualifies May, Lourenco, Carpenter for sectional tennis

Staff Writer
Chillicothe News
Sophomore Cami Carpenter, left, and junior Leah Lourenco, right, of the Chillicothe High School tennis Lady Hornets combined to earn second place in the Class 1 District 15 non-team tournament's doubles division last Friday. By doing so, they qualified to play a state-qualifying sectional match this coming Saturday.

CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Chillicothe (Mo.) HS has advanced at least three individuals to 2020 post-district girls’ tennis competition.

On Friday, senior Delaney May placed second in the singles division and junior Leah Lourenco and sophomore Cami Carpenter second in doubles in the 4-schools Class 1 District 15 non-team tournament, held at Chillicothe’s Daryl Danner Memorial Park courts.

That earns each of them the right to play for a spot in the state tournament in those respective styles next Saturday at St. Joseph’s Noyes Tennis Center. Each will be underdogs as they take on the champions of the District 16 tournament – St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond’s Emily Weddle in singles and Libby Weddle and Peyton Netten in doubles – in do-or-die best-of-3-sets matches.

For May, it’s a repeat of 2019, when she finished as district singles runnerup to then-senior teammate Macy Cavanah. Both then lost their sectional matches.

On Saturday, even without its best harrier thus far in 2020 wasn’t on hand, CHS’ cross country running teams medaled a handful of their nine participants in the Savannah Invitational meet.

Medaling there were Hayden Simmer and Clayton Savage for the boys and Kadence Shipers, Juliann Gabrielson, and Kaylynn Cranmer for the girls.

In a change of procedure from previous years, non-team district-level girls’ tennis competition for players hoping to advance to the state tournament in either singles or doubles play was held late last week, prior to the district-team tournaments. Since the Missouri State High School Activities Association switched – about 10 years ago – to separate dual-match competition to determine state tourney team qualifiers (rather than a points-based system ranking teams by their individual players’ performances as either singles or doubles entries in the district tourney), the non-team competition had been held after the team matches.

Team district play is to begin Monday and – weather permitting – conclude Tuesday (check back here for results on those evenings).

In Friday’s action in Chillicothe, May and the Carpenter/Lourenco duo both won in straight sets in both the quarterfinals and semifinals to clinch at least a runnerup finish and advancement to sectional, CHS coach Karen Jackson reports.

May shut out Lydia Leininger of Trenton before dispatching McKenzie Williams of Cameron 6-3, 6-3. At the same time, Lourenco and Carpenter were turning aside Cameron’s Serenity Burge and Cali Teel 6-1, 6-1 in their opening match and then Trenton’s Morgan Dolan and Emilee Lovell with a come-from-behind effort.

The Chillicothe and Trenton tandems battled on dead-even terms through the regulation 12 games of the opening set, sending it to a 12-points tiebreaker. When the Lady Bulldogs pair prevailed in that, the two Lady Hornets had their backs to the wall.

They met that challenge forcefully, surging to an early advantage in the second set and eventually pulling away to a decisive 6-2 triumph that set up a win-or-go-home final set.

The third set saw Carpenter and Lourenco maintain their elevated level of play of the second set, again putting the Trenton duo in a quick hole and never letting it out. When the last racquet was swung in the match, the CHS pairing had claimed the decisive set 6-1, punching its ticket to sectional competition.

The Chillicothe players’ respective championship matches proved to be highly-contrasting.

In doubles, Lourenco/Carpenter once more engaged in a 3-sets battle, this time against Kirksville’s Gracie Reimenschneider and Maren Elmore.

Just as in the semifinals, the Lady Hornets entry fell short in a tiebreaker that decided the opening set, dropping it by a sliver at 5-7. However, they also repeated their rally in set two, although with more resistance. When Carpenter/Lourenco claimed the 10th game of the set, it gave them a 6-4 victory that forced the district-championship match to the third and final set.

There, the teams continued their at-close-quarters duel, this time heading to the 12th game with only a one-game margin – this time held by the KHS combo. If the Chillicothe duo could claim the next game, the crown would come down to one more tiebreaker.

Reimenschneider and Elmore didn’t take it to the brink, however, capturing that 12th game, the set by a 7-5 margin, and the match, 2-1.

In the singles finals, facing an opponent she had edged 8-6 on the same court a month earlier, but also had lost to 1-8 more recently, May never got anything going against Trenton’s top-seeded Lexi Gott. The Lady Bulldog, a sectional qualifier in doubles a year ago, dominated from the outset, eventually breezing to a 6-0, 6-1 conquest, leaving May in second place again.

Chillicothe’s other entries in Friday’s tournament had mixed results.

In singles, senior Megan Sisson placed third – defeating Madison Burton of Cameron 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 in the singles quarterfinals, losing to Gott 0-6, 0-6 in the semis, and then battling past Cameron’s Williams 7-5, 6-2 to earn third place.

In doubles, junior Olivia Anderson and freshman Rylee Washburn came up on the short end of a 3-6, 5-7 clash with Trenton’s Mallory Sole and Alaina Overton.

The Class 1 District 15 team tournament starts with Chillicothe hosting Cameron at 4 p.m. Monday at Danner Park and Trenton welcoming Kirksville. The winners – highly likely to be Chillicothe and Trenton – will meet at higher seed’s courts Tuesday, Jackson confirmed.

Five cross country runners earn medals in Savannah meet Saturday

SAVANNAH – Five Chillicothe cross country runners earned medals by placing among the top 10 of their gender in Saturday’s (Oct. 3, 2020) Savannah Invitational meet.

Kadence Shipers provided the highest CHS finish, taking third in the varsity girls’ 5-kilometers race in 23:55. Next across the finish line was teammate Juliann Gabrielson in 24:10, the same placement Hayden Simmer had in pacing the Hornets’ showing. H. Simmer was clocked in 19:20 for the 5K.

Earning their first varsity-level meet medals ever were sophomores Clayton Savage and Kaylynn Cranmer. Savage took sixth in the boys’ race in 20:23, while Cranmer finished ninth among the girls in her best-ever time of 25:08, CHS coach Jennifer Dickson reports.

While Chillicothe’s three other entrants did not medal, two did join Cranmer in running their swiftest 5Ks ever. Freshman Austin Lyford was 11th in 21:04 and Gavin Funk 16th in 22:18.

Completing the CHS roster of the day was Hornet Kade Simmer, who posted a 25:17 time.

Chillicothe’s strong overall showing came even with top Lady Hornet Aliyah Briner absent.

“Very proud of their efforts both (Saturday) and this past week through some killer workouts,” Dickson described for local media following the runners’ first weekend meet of 2020.

The Hornets and Lady Hornets are scheduled to next race at Excelsior Springs Tuesday.