Not Your Ordinary Opening Day 

     When a school starts a new sports program, they are expected to struggle. The simplest accomplishment in the opening game can be something build upon. However when Hornets baseball began for the first time in 82 years, the opening game went a little bit differently.
     On a windy and chili March 25, 1997 the modern era of Hornets baseball began with a home game against a team no one knew much about, other than St Joseph Christian was a much smaller school. Years later, Jim Wheeler, one of the Hornet coaches, remembered watching the Christian team warm up and telling Coach Dave Mapel "I think we have a chance against this team."

      Legion pitcher Brett Hecker took the mound and proceeded to start throwing strikes. In the bottom of the first the Hornets Justin Walter stepped up to the plate and proceeded to strike out looking. It would be just about the only bright spot for the Christian team.
      By the end of the first inning Chillicothe led 10-0. After two innings it was 15-0. After three the Hornets led 23-0. Christian managed to score a run in the top of the fourth. The Hornets answered with authority, sending 24 batters to the plate and bringing 20 runners across home base. After a scoreless top of the fifth, the game was called with a 43-1 Hornets win.
     While never submitted to MSHSAA officials, many statistics from the game are likely still state records including 32 hits by the Hornets including four doubles. 14 Chillicothe players stole a total of 27 bases during the game while Hecker and Michael Holder combined on the mound to allow the 10-member Christian team to 1 run off 3 hits in the game.

      The rest of the season would be less impressive, picking up two more wins including a 10-3 win over Benton and a 17-6 win over Cameron in six innings.
 <1997 Baseball Season>     <Hornet Baseball Records>

 

Record Setting Day
             

     In Track and Field, the obvious goal is to win your event but in the back of the athlete's mind is the possibility of breaking a school record. One day in May of 1990 at Savannah, the Chillicothe Boys track team had a pretty good meet, setting not one, not two, but three school records all in the field events.
      Chillicothe's David White, one of the all time best all around athletes, already had the school High Jump record at
6' 9' set his Junior year at the Chillicothe Relays. Some doubted the 6'0" tall White would ever surpass that mark. He proved them wrong with a 6'10" leap at the 13-team Savannah meet. Minutes later, White sprinted towards the triple jump pit and finished with a mark of 45' 8.5", shattering the 7 year old school record by 11 inches.
      Not to be out done, the Hornets Jason Peterie upped his own pole vault record by 7 inches, setting a mark of 15' 4"
     Peterie's Pole Vault and White's Triple Jump records still stand 28 years later. White's High Jump record was broken by Jesse Miller in 2016.

 

Eye Popping Ellison and Company
      It was a December night in 1980 and the Chillicothe girls basketball team, in the modern day program's 7th season, hit the road to take on Class 1 Braymer. The Lady Hornets, under second year Head Coach Susan Sugg, was off to a 2-1 start on the season after getting just six wins the entire previous season.
      Sugg had concerns that her team hadn't played in a week, after taking 3rd in the Marshall Tournament. She had no reason to worry.
       The Lady Hornets started strong with an 8-0 game opening run against a Braymer team that started one senior and four sophomores while Chillicothe started Seniors Chris Wilson and Susan Bonderer, Junior Margie Ellison, Sophomore Linda Rupp and Freshman Ginger Craven.
       By halftime Chillicothe built a 29-12 lead. Braymer was ill-prepared for the Chillicothe full court press.  The lady Hornets outscored Braymer 28-6 in the third quarter and 43-0 in the final quarter. When the final whistle sounded, Chillicothe had a 92-18 victory, winning by 74 points. The 92 points and the victory margin still stand as school records.
       5' 6" Jr Guard Margie Ellison was one of the benefactors off the team press,
 

becoming the first Chillicothe girls basketball player in school history to crack the 30 point mark, finishing with 31 points. 22 of them came in the second half and off the press. The Lady Hornets team shot 38 of 102 from the floor, in the years before the three point shot was allowed. Yes, you read that right; 102 shots taken by the Lady Hornets. The team pulled down 61 rebounds, led by Linda Rupp's 14.
      Braymer's Coach Gary Littrell was less than happy about the outcome, telling the Constitution Tribune newspaper that "Chillicothe didn't take the press off until they were 46 points up"
       Chillicothe would end the season at 12-11 overall and 3-5 in NCMC play. It would be February before Ellison cracked double figures again:18 in a loss at Rock Bridge. Rupp would receive all conference and district honors. Craven would be all conference and Ellison would be all conference honorable mention. With a wealth of talent returning, Chillicothe would win their first district championship ever and finish 4th in the state tournament in Sugg's final season as Chillicothe head coach

<1980-81 results>      <School Girls Basketball Records>



The Tommy-Tom Club - FORE!
      On an early day in May 1965, the Chillicothe boys golf team joined 28 other teams from Northwest Missouri and Kansas City for the District golf tournament at Excelsior Springs. Chillicothe was led by 3 year letterman Tom Barnhart who had picked up several Medalist honors in the regular season meets.
      The pre-tournament buzz however was about a different golfer, a Sophomore called Tommy from a Kansas City area school.  The 29 teams teed off, and when the final score cards came in, Tommy of Kansas City had shot consistently with a 36 on the front nine and a 36 on the back nine for an even par.
      Barnhart for Chillicothe had shot a tremendous back nine with a score of 35, one better than Tommy of KC. However Barnhart struggled a little on the front nine, shooting a 44. Barnhart's total was 3 strokes shy of making the cut to move on to state.
      And that Tommy fellow from Kansas City? He did ok, his Pembroke Country Day team (now Pembroke Hill) would win the district tournament by 20 strokes and finish 3rd in the state meet. Tommy was the district medalist and tied for 2nd individually in the state meet. He went on to become a two-time state medalist in 1967 and 1968.

      So, what became of Tommy of Pembroke Hill? You might have heard of Tommy...aka Tom.....Watson, Professional Golfing legend.
      Yes, for nine holes, one day in May in 1965, Chillicothe's Tom Barnhart was one stroke better on the back nine than a future golfing legend.   <Boys Golfing Records>


Monkey Be Gone!
   
      Ask any Chillicothe Lady Hornets Basketball player since 1986 who is their nemesis, the answer will almost always be the St Joseph Benton Lady Cardinals. In the series between the two schools, Benton has won 60 meetings and Chillicothe just 26.
       Ask the 1993-94 team. They lost three games that season: the state championship, and twice lost to Benton, although they did beat Benton in the district finals.
       In December 2001, Chillicothe shocked Benton with a 1 point overtime win. Little did Chillicothe know it would be 13 years and 2 weeks before Chillicothe would once again beat the Benton. Think about that. Kids entered kindergarten, went through elementary school, middle school and graduated high school with out knowing what it was like to beat the Benton Lady Cardinals.
       On January 3rd, 2015 the Chillicothe Lady Hornets finally got the Benton Monkey off their back in one of the most significant victories in Lady Hornets Basketball history.
       The Lady Hornets were a program on the rise, thanks in part to a talented Sophomore class and a new head coach. When the two teams walked onto the court of the NCMC Holiday Hoops showcase, Lady Hornets fans were hoping this group of players might be able to finally beat Benton sometime in the next two and a half seasons.
      The game started with a Benton basket. Chillicothe answered with an 8-0 run and Lady Hornet fans kept their fingers crossed. Benton would battle back to with in one point in the fourth. Chillicothe's Katelyn Parkey, one of five sophomore starters and 7 sophomores that played in that game hit a deuce and was fouled. She missed the free throw but Chillicothe got the rebound, sent it to Parkey who nailed a trey for a 5 point play and Chillicothe never looked back for a 44-39 victory.

       Benton would beat Chillicothe twice later that season: in the Kearney Tournament and in the MEC game. The next season Benton would beat Chillicothe and finished with an undefeated State Championship.

<1/3/15 Benton Game>     <Girls Basketball History>



"Hack a Hornet"
       

      In the late 1990's, NBA teams developed a defensive strategy of intentional fouling called "Hack a Shaq", named after LSU and NBA Star Shaquille O'Neal, a great player but not so good of a free throw shooter. While the strategy was instituted by then Dallas Mavericks coach Don Nelson, it actually went back to the Wilt Chamberlain days in the NBA. Wilt the Stilt was a dominate force but terrible free throw shooter.
     In the 1997-98 boys basketball season, the Hornets were the stars of the court. They had been to the high school final four two straight years, taking 4th in 1996 and 2nd in 1997. With most of the team back including a tremendously talented Senior Class, they were having a great season.

    When the Hornets rolled into Savannah on February 5th, 1998 they had just one loss on the season, and that was to Liberty in the William Jewell Tournament. They handed Savannah a 70-57 loss early in the season in Chillicothe and expected to win this conference game as well, even though Savannah was known as a tough place to play.
     The night began with an overtime freshman game, followed by a JV game that also went overtime. By the time the Varsity game started it was already a long night.
      The Savages elected to try their own version of "Hack a Shaq" strategy and the Hornets All-State star Justin Bland was their target. The Savannah defense was relentless in their attack, doing everything they could to keep the high scoring Hornets in check. The Hornets 6'6" 300 pound all stater would have the last laugh, hitting 19 of 20 free throw attempts in an 84-51 Hornets romp. The 19 free throws is still a single-game single-player school record.
      Officials called  55 fouls in the game, with 31 on Savannah including a technical foul on the Savages bench. As a team, Chillicothe hit 39 of 50 free throws, including 25 attempts in the 4th quarter, when the two teams combined for 43 attempts from the line. In addition to Bland, 7 other Hornets had their turn at the free throw line.
      By the time the three games were complete, the clock was just shy of 10:00pm, nearly five hours of basketball between the three games.

<1997-98 Basketball Season>     <Boys Basketball Records>


 

Close to Perfect

  

      Perfection, it's the ultimate and usually unobtainable goal for the individual athlete and sports team. On December 1981 night, one Chillicothe sports team flirted with perfection.
      The Chillicothe Hornets wrestling team were in an early season quad meet with Lawson, Higginsville and Richmond. The Hornets beat Higginsville 41-17 and shut out Lawson 66-0. But the shut out is not the perfection we're talking about. Only 7 of those matches were won by pin fall.

      When the Hornets took the mat against Richmond,  98lbs Rodney Jones won by pin in :39 seconds, followed by Kent Sherrow in 1:10, then Rodney Pettinger in 35 seconds. The Hornets were on an early roll.
      When the match ended, Chillicothe had rolled up 74 points, but just missed perfection when 12 matches were wins by pin by Chillicothe, but one ended in a 5-5 tie in an era before today's "sudden victory".
      The final score was Chillicothe 74, Richmond 1. The Hornets were one pin and 4 points away from tying a record of 78 points. Not a school record, or a state record, but a national record.
      Hornets that took the mat that night were Rodney Jones, Kent Sherrow, Rodney Pettinger, Rob O'Dell, Ronnie Cairns, Ted Baker, David Vorbeck, Todd Walker Dan Thompson, John Logan, Gil Gates, Darren Grannemann and Ed Turbyfill.
     The team would end the season 3rd in the NCMC, 2nd in District and 24th in the State tournament under Coach Doug Long with John Logan finishing 2nd and 5 others qualifying but not placing in the meet.
     In a 1940 season meet, Chillicothe won all 9 matches against Missouri Military Academy by pins in a 45-0 victory, but it is not know if there were any open weight classes in the meet.

<1981-82 Hornets Wrestling>     <Hornets Wrestling Records>


 

The Return of Girls Basketball at Chillicothe
          
                                      
Row 1: Jena McCoy, Maria Oertwig, Julie Haynes, Gail Maberry, Dawn Detweiler
                                       Row 2: Janet Haynes, JoEllen Smith, Jan Miller, Julie Saale, Vickie Melte, Lynn Coult, Kathy Wilson

     On November 14th, 1974 a group of girls suited up and played organized basketball for Chillicothe for the first time in nearly 50 years. Girls sports had returned to CHS and after weeks of practice under former Chillicothe star player and former Hornets Coach Fred Stephens, the girls lost to Cameron in the season opener 51-19 with Jan Miller, Kathy Wilson and Jo Ellen Smith scoring all of the points.
     Undeterred and 11 days later, Chillicothe again took to the old CHS High School Stage which doubled as a basketball court and faced the Marshall Lady Owls. 
     Chillicothe used the offense of Jan Miller's 16 points and an improved defensive effort to pick up their first win 45-33. Chillicothe led by just three points heading into the fourth quarter but outscored Marshall 12-3 in the final quarter. 
      In addition to Miller's 16 points, Kathy Wilson had 10, Julie Haynes 7 and Jo Ellen Smith with 6 points. A full box score was unavailable in the Constitution-Tribune article covering the game.
      The 45 points would be their best offensive output of the season. They would pick up a win over Moberly and would beat Brookfield twice for their 4 wins in the initial Modern Era Girls Basketball season. Stephens would coach one more season, finishing 7-11 and 6-6 in the NCMC in their 2nd season. It would take the Lady Hornets just 8 seasons to pick up a 19-7 record and a final four appearance.
      But that's a story for another time.
<Lady Hornets 1974-75 season>     <Lady Hornets Basketball Records>

 

   

The Legend of Jerry Parrish    
     In the 100 plus years of Chillicothe boys basketball, there have been some great Hornet players. One of the best played more than 50 years ago and many of his records still stand.
     When it came to basketball, the 6' 2" Jerry Parrish was nearly unstoppable on the court. Decades before the three-point shot was invented, Parrish routinely scored 30 and 40 plus points per game for the Hornets. In his senior year, he scored over 30 points in all but one game in a 13 game stretch, including 48 points against Macon in a 92-60 blow out. Parish had 17 field goals and was 14 of 17 at the free throw line in the game. The 48 points stands as a single game record to this day, and his season total of 827 points is also still a school record. 20 days after the 48 points he popped in 46 and later that season he had 40 points with no free throws, making 20 field goals, a school record that was tied 31 years later. During his three years playing varsity, the teams went a combined 73-10 with three conference championships and a trip to the quarterfinals his Senior year when the team finished 29-2.
      Parish still holds the season 2 point field goal record of 326 and is third all time in that category. He also still holds the season points per game record with 25.57.
      The apple didn't fall far from the tree later in life when his sons Mitch and Matt and daughter Ashley all received all state honors, all were on district championship teams and all three played for state championships, with Mitch and Matt on the 1981 boys Championship team and Ashley on the 1994 girls 2nd place team.

*Check out "This Week in Hornets Football" past stories*

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