Evart boys settle for third place at state meet

SAUGATUCK — Evart’s boys track team knew it wouldn’t be easy going for a third straight MITCA Division 4 team state championship on Saturday.

It wasn’t.

The Wildcats, two-time defending state champs, gave it another strong shot and wound up with 825.5 points, but fell short of Summerfield, which was at 869.5 and Sand Creek at 840. Saugatuck, the host school, was fourth at 806.5.

“I think we did about what we could do,”  Evart coach Dennis Peacock said. “We had some good performances and some average performances. Two other teams were better than us (Saturday). We did quite well but came up a little short.”

The MITCA meet invites teams that won their regional or met a certain power ranking.

“I thought Saugatuck and West Michigan Christian would be the teams to beat,” Peacock said. “Sand Creek and Summerfield ran real well.”

All athletes for an event are scored. The MHSAA state meet, which will be this Saturday, counts points only from individual athletes that qualified from the regionals.

Max Hodges was second (4:33.42), Santana Scott fifth (4:42.66) and Josh Woods eighth (4:48.45) in the 1,600-meter run. Major Griffin took third place in the 400 meters (53.97). Hodges was fifth in the 800 meters (2:07.85) while Woods was eighth (2:11.49) and Scott 10th (2:11.64). Scott and Woods went 3-4 in the 3,200 meters in 10:43.79 and 10:46.22.

“Our distance kids really stepped up,” Peacock said. “Scott is a sophomore, and Woods, is a freshman, and so we could get as many points as possible, they ran (four) events. The boys run first this year and don’t have a chance to rest during the 3,200 run.”

That meant little time for resting between the 800 and 3,200, Peacock noted.

“We tried our best and gave it our all,” Scott said. “We’re all a little tired. The heat was painful, but nothing to be ashamed of. We tried our best.”

Larry VanBuren was ninth in the 100 meters (12.04).

In the relays, the 400 was second in 45.93 with Cody Pritchard, Joe Eastman, Valdemar Maintz and VanBuren. Griffin, Scott, Woods and Hodges were in the 3,200 meters for fourth place in 8:32.11.

“I tried my best,” Scott said. “I had aches and pains, and am sore. But I gave it my all.”

Woods was happy with his performance as a freshman.

“The two mile was real hard after a long day,” Woods said. “I really put a lot into it.”

Dean Marsh led the field events with a second place in the shot put (45-6) and third place in the discus (128-6), which also featured a fifth-place from Josh Decator (117-1). Zach Parshall was fifth in the high jump (6-0). Dillon Danley was third (18-3 3/4) and Cody Pritchard seventh (17-4) in the long jump (17-4).

Woods said there was some disappointment at not taking first.

“A lot of our team expected to win the meet,” Woods said. “But i do think our team performed well (Saturday). It was a long hot day.”

Woods has focused on those four events all season and indicated the 3,200-meter run has been his best event. His best time has been 10:32. His second best event was the 1,600 meters with a best time of 4:46.

“I definitely felt very good about this season and was excited to get such high places at so many large meets,” he said. “I’m really good at pacing myself. I have a good kick at the end.”

Woods’ favorite memory about the season was winning the team regional. He also ran cross country and said it was fun being a distance runner.

“I enjoyed running with them a lot,” he said.