Evart boys grab another regional track championship

MARION — It’s a three-peat for the Evart Wildcat boys track and field team.

The Wildcats scored 134 points to head the field of 15 teams Saturday in the Division 4 track regionals at Marion.

The Evart boys have now won three-straight regionals and also qualified several athletes for the MHSAA state finals May 31 at Hudsonville.

The regional title also qualifies Evart for the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association (MITCA) team state meet this weekend. The Wildcats are two-time defending MITCA state champs.

“The most fun was that after all of the kids we lost from last year and with the kids that didn’t come out and some got hurt, nobody expected us to do that,” Evart boys coach Dennis Peacock said. “Last year, we were loaded. This year, a lot of those kids didn’t come out or graduated.”

Evart had 134 points compared to 96 for second-place Marion.

The girls results were the opposite with Marion taking first at 117 while Evart was second with a 98.

The top two finishers in each event will go to the MHSAA finals at the end of this month and that includes several Evart athletes.

For the boys, Santana Scott won the 1,600 meters (4:39.62) and 3,200 meters (10:13.9). Dean Marsh was first in the shot put (45-1) and second in the discus (136-10). The 3,200-meter relay team of Major Griffin, Santana Scott, Josh Woods and Max Hodges (8:44.96) was first and the 800-relay foursome of Cody Pritchard, Valdemar Maintz, Griffin and VanBuren was second (1:38.37). The 400-relay foursome of Pritchard, Maintz, Joe Eastman and VanBuren was second in 46.56.

Hodges, the defending 800-meter state champ, won that event for the regional title (2:01.08) and was second in the 1,600 meters (4:44.12).

“What really did it for us (Saturday) is, I can’t give you names because there’s so many, but the kids that were supposed to run well did, and we got points from events we didn’t expect,” Peacock said. “Some of our kids who aren’t the horses stepped up and got those extra points. Micah Wetters and Andrew Maxwell scored in both hurdles, for instance. Zach Parshall scored in the long jump.”

Dillon Danley was not at the meet for family reasons and the Wildcats were able to make up for the points he might have delivered in the various events, including the long jump, Peacock pointed out.

“In the 400, we had a kid get third (Griffin) and seventh (Eastman),” he added.

For the girls, Kirsten Parsons won the shot put (34-7) and discus (94-0), while Lexie Fehrenbach tied for second (7-0) in the pole vault to qualify for state. Jessica Tea is going to the finals in three events. She was third in the high jump (5-1) and was fourth in the 100-meter dash (14.47). but met the qualifying standard in both to make the state finals. She won the long jump (16-5). Tabby Turley won the 100-meter hurdles and Grace Hamilton was first in the 3,200-meter run (12:13.73).

“They ran extremely hard and did as well as they could do,” Wildcat girls coach Ken Willems said. “We’ve got only 17 girls and sometimes they’ll run out of steam at the end. But with 17 girls, they did well.”

Evart on Tuesday was in the Highland Conference meet at McBain.

“It’s been a good season for the girls to stick with it,” Willems said. “Now we have one more big meet. The state meet takes care of itself. The conference meet is Tuesday and we’ll see what we can do there.”