Evart boys take fifth place at state cross country final

BROOKLYN —  Evart’s boys cross country team took fifth in the Division 4 race Saturday in the state competition at Michigan International Speedway.

Evart was second in the state finals last season.

Sophomore Santana Scott led Evart with a time of 17:02.2 for 14th place. Senior Max Hodges was 15th in 17:06.5. The top 30 runners get all-state honors. Just missing out for Evart were Josh Woods, 31st in 17:43.9, and Zach Douglas, 33rd in 17:45.7.

“The guys ran real strong,” said Evart coach Kevin Mills. “I saw a lot of heart out there and I’m proud of everyone of them.”

Ryan Tuttle was 66th in 18:23.3, Micah Wetters 93rd in 18:48.2 and Andrew Bengry 135th in 19:57.6.

The runners and  coaches adopted Mohawk-like hair cut styles for the meet.

“It’s a big meet and you have to do something different,” Mills said. “It was the kids’ idea.”

Mills liked the prevailing conditions.

“This is cross country weather,” he said.

Scott smiled right after the race when it was mentioned he would be an all-stater.

“I feel I went out too hard, but I pulled through,” he said. “I think my third was the strongest mile.”

Scott passed some runners down the stretch.

“I believe I was 30th going into the infield,” he said, adding that the muddy couse, “hurt more than it helped. But everyone has to run in it.”

Hodges received all-state honors but was hoping for a higher finish.

“I don’t felt like I did very well,” he said.”I don’t know. I went out and had a strong first two miles. The third mile, I don’t know, I just died. I don’t know what happened, worse feeling in the world.”

As a team, “I think we did OK,” Hodges said.

“I feel we did pretty good,” Scott said.

In the Division 4 girls race, senior Grace Hamilton of Evart took all-state honors by placing 29th in 20:10.2.

“It was great,” Hamilton said. “It was muddy out there but I got top 30 which has been my goal since my freshman year. It was great to be able to do that in my last race. It was a mix of everything. It was going out strong.”

Hamilton said she kept focused but started out farther back.

“Someone told me early on I was 37th so I kept telling myself...I had to keep passing people,” she said. “With all the rain we’ve had recently, it was very very muddy, which made it hard. But for racing, it wasn’t too hot or cold, just perfect.”

Hamilton enjoyed the way she ended her career.

“It was amazing,” she said. “I’m so sad we’re done but I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.”