EVART – Max Hodges has been an effective one-third aspect of the one-two-three punch that the Evart cross country team is putting forward for the boys. Hodges, a junior, has been keeping up with seniors Logan Hammer and David Zinger this season.

Hodges won a meet last week at home for the Wildcats against Harrison and Farwell.

It’s his third year of cross country.

“Last year was all right,” he recalled. “I really want to get in 15s.”

His best time so far has been a 16:33.

“I need to pace myself on my miles,” Hodges said. “Last year, I went out too fast on my first mile. This year, I’ve cut down a little bit. That will even out my other miles.”

Hodges said some preseason training has been paying off richly this season.

“It really helps with your self-esteem,” he said.

Hodges said his first mile is the best part of his race right now.

“It’s my second and third mile, I have to get to a 5:30. My last mile is usually around a six-minute-flat,” he said.

Along with the top three, others are helping out the Wildcat attack, which is encouraging for Hodges.

“Everyone is improving this year,” he said.

In the win over Harrison and Farwell, Hodges was first in 17:09. Hammer and Zinger were virtually tied for second and third at 17:31 while Zach Douglas was fourth at 19:06 and Santa Scott fifth at 19:35.

“The boys are doing fine,” said Evart coach Andy Eichelberger. “You can probably see our first, second and third runners...they’re healthy. Last year Zinger was my No. 1, but the other two guys have really matured and they’ve caught up to him.”

Evart had a 15-49 win over Harrison. Farwell had just three runners.

The Evart girls also won over both schools. Grace Hamilton was second in 22:12, Mara VanOrder third in 22;46, Clairese Clark was sixth in 24:31, Taylor McLachlan 10th in 26:03, Katie Parsons 11th in 26:12, Stevie Duey 13th in 31:10, and Natalie Belville 14th in 35:14.

“My sixth and seventh runners, it’s their first year of running cross country,” Eichelberger said.