Evart boys qualify for XC state finals

TRAVERSE CITY — The Evart boys cross country team qualified for the state finals with a second-place finish at the Division 4 regional race at Grand Traverse Resort on Saturday.

The Wildcats logged a score of 71 to move on to the Lower Peninsula state final at Michigan International Spedway in Brooklyn this Saturday.

Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart took first place. Evart coach Kevin Mills said his team realized the tough battle they were facing against Sacred Heart.

“They were coming into it, our times against theirs, they were beating us by 10 points,” Mills said.

Max Hodges came in second individually for the Wildcats with a time of 16:56.40 while Santana Scott came in sixth (17:05.80) to qualify both for the state finals as individuals. Josh Woods came in 16th (17:50.60) and Zach Douglas came in 20th (18:07.10).

”No one ran bad,” Mills said. “They all ran pretty good. We were hoping to maybe get closer to Sacred Heart.”

Three Evart runners had season bests with Andrew Bengry, Scott and Woods.

Last season, the Wildcats were second in the state. But Logan Hammer and David Zinger have graduated from that team.

”If all seven guys come out and run their PR, it depends on how the other teams run,” Mills said, pointing to possibly as high of a finish as top five in the state.

At least four of the Evart runners were in the state meet a year ago.

For the girls, Evart  failed to log a team score.

Evart’s Grace Hamilton was the lone finals qualifier on Saturday, ending the day in 10th (20:42.90), followed by Clairese Clark in 39th (24:02.70), Brooke Belleville in 47th (24:57.70) and Stevie Duey in 56th (26:31.8).

At the state finals, Hamilton “is hoping to break 20 minutes,” Mills said.

Herald Review sports writer Greg Buckner also contributed to this report.