Top Ten Hornet Sports Stories of 2018-19

      The 2018-19 Chillicothe High School Sports Season is in the books and there were no shortage of dramatic stories during the school year.
      Here is's Top 10 Sports Stories of the school year, as selected by website owner Randy Dean.

10) New Sport Debuts
       The choices of sports for Lady Hornet athletes expanded this year with the state-wide debut of Women's wrestling. It included conference, district and state tournaments. While the hand full of Lady Hornet grapplers didn't pick up a lot of wins, they improved and stayed with it through the entire season.
9) Tennis Tradition Continues
Chillicothe Tennis has had a rich tradition for years. Tyler Maasdam moved from #4 singles last season to #1 singles this season, facing every team's best player, every time. Maasdam, who worked with former Hornets Coach Ed Douglas in the off season, continued the tradition winning the conference singles tournament, taking second in districts, winning in sectionals and qualifying for the state tournament.
8) From WHO? to WOW!
     When the 2019 Boys track season began, Damarcus Kelow was just a freshman trying to make the most of an opportunity. Kelow, who saw plenty of reps on Defense in Football in the fall, worked, learned and improved as a Discus thrower. When the MEC meet came around, Kelow's JUNIOR VARSITY discus throw would of won the VARSITY competition. Kelow built on that momentum through district and sectionals, and finished 9th at the State meet, just a few feet away from a Medal, as a Freshman.
7) It's About the Heart
     In sports, there are accepted units of measuring to find out who is the strongest, or the fastest. In Football this season, the measuring stick for Heart and Toughness was raised pretty high on an immeasurable scale. Hornets Senior Drake Lightner was the team's starting Center. He showed strength and skill while battling to protect his Quarterback. In mid season, the battles and injuries started to mount. On a Friday night in Kansas City, Lightner wanted to play against St Pius. Barely able to walk due to an injury, he gutted it out and battled at his Center position. He protected his Quarterback, opened holes for the running backs, and refusing to give up, despite the painful nagging injury.
     Lady Hornets Basketball Junior Jordan Hibner isn't the tallest player on the floor. She stands at 5'4" with a determined look on her game face. Hibner has a gift on the court. She's a dead-eye outside shooter. This season, she set a new single season record of 71 treys in the game, breaking a 24 year old school record. What makes this an even more amazing feat is that fellow teammate Hunter Keithley hit 48 treys, good for 3rd place all time.
5) Sensational Soccer Season
     With a strong returning group of Seniors, there were high hopes for the Lady Hornets Soccer season. Behind second year Head Coach Shannon Grable, the Lady Hornets made it next to impossible for opposing teams to score. Behind Goalie Kennedie Kieffer, the Lady Hornets set a new school record for shut outs with 16, and won just the second District Championship in program history.
4) Girls Golf Glory
     The Lady Hornets Golf team relied on Sophomore Sensation Hallie Jones and three seniors to turn in a strong season. The Lady Hornets finished 2nd in the MEC meet, won the district and sectional tournament and finished sixth in the MSHSAA Meet at Maryville.
3) Twin Turbos Unleashed
      The Chillicothe boys basketball team turned in a respectable season, turning in a 14-11 record. But it was the play of Westley Brandsgaard and C J Pfaff that electrified audiences. Brandsgaard averaged 18.2 points per game and Pfaff 16.4 points per game. Pfaff also set a new record for Steals in a season.
     In what is believed to be a school program first, the two players combined to score every single point for their team in a 39-32 win at Benton with Brandsgaard scoring 24 and Pfaff with 15.
2) Total Revamp.
     A new Hornets Head Football Coach is a rare story. Tim Rulo became just the third person to hold the position since JFK was in the White House. He wasn't the only new thing. Also new was almost every assistant coach, the film guy, the play callers in the press box, every offensive starter and almost every defensive starter, the punter, the kicker, the deep snapper were all new. Even the guys broadcasting the game changed for the first time in 25 years. After early set backs with a new system and new plays, the Hornets started to improve and were playing good football at the end of the season including two solid back to back victories over St Joseph Benton. With a large number of starters returning and an impressive incoming Freshman class, look for this program to return to glory.
1) It's NOT FAIR!
These are words you can hear during the course of a sports season. Usually regarding a call by an official that costs you a game. Earlier I talked about Drake Lightner setting a new standard of heart while playing through an injury.
     Senior Wrestler Matt Callen set a new standard in sportsmanship in the biggest stage of them all in High School: State competition. Callen was in a consolation match against a tough wrestler from Kirksville. Due to a move gone wrong, Callen was briefly knocked out on the mat by the Kirksville wrestler. After a medical check and a rules check, Callen was granted the win due to disqualification.
      Hornets wrestling coach Chad Smith told officials Callen's health was the most important thing and said he would not wrestle the next match, a consolation semi-final match. Callen then did the unthinkable. He went to the officials, asked, plead and begged to overturn the DQ and allow the Kirksville senior to wrestling the next match. It was an unprecedented show of sportsmanship.
      The crowd held it's breath while a throng of refs and tournament officials debated, but upheld their ruling. The Kirksville wrestler was still disqualified and Callen's hand was raised, despite his wishes.
            This was the ultimate display of good sportsmanship by an individual. It should of drawn national attention.

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