Evart boys take third in state meet, Hodges is state champ

State champ: Max Hodges won the 800 meters at the Division 3 state finals. (File photo)
State champ: Max Hodges won the 800 meters at the Division 3 state finals. (File photo)

HUDSONVILLE — One week after winning the MITCA track and field state title in Division 4, the Evart Wildcats placed third in the MHSAA state finals Saturday at Hudsonville.

Led by Max Hodges, who won the 800-meter run, the Wildcats took third with 36.5 points behind Saugatuck with 58, and Albion with 47. White Cloud was fourth with 36.

“I was really pleased,” said Evart boys coach Dennis Peacock. “I think third is the highest we’ve ever scored at the MHSAA meet. We had 11 kids that were all state. It was a good day for us.”

Hodges had a winning time of 1:58.40 for first place.

“Max ran a great race,” said Peacock. “He came in third behind the leaders in the first lap. As he came around the first turn he went around people. He ran a great time and a great race. It was a great performance.”

Hodges had plenty of highlights during his cross country and track career but said his Saturday race was the top highlight.

“I was pretty confident,” said Hodges, who was happy to get his personal record in winning the race. “It was really good.”

Evart notched third places from Jacob Hopkins with a high jump effort of 6-3 and from the relay foursome of Hodges, Logan Hammer, Santana Scott and David Zinger in the 3,200 in 8:18.62.

Zinger was fourth in the 3,200-meter run in 9:54.13. The 800 relay foursome of Alex Newton, Nate Struble, Dillon Danley and John Danley were fourth in 1:33.89.

“They went in seeded 14th,” Peacock said. “And they got fourth. They ran their best time of the year by over a second. Everything clicked for them.”

In the pole vault, Rick Miller was fifth with an effort of 12-10. Chapman Long tied for eighth in 11-10.

“I think everyone did pretty good,” Hodges said. ”We wanted to get second.”

But the third-place performance was a strong one for the Wildcats, Hodges noted, adding that it marked the end of an era for Evart distance runners with Hammer and Zinger running their last races.

“It will be tough to replace them,” Hodges said, adding that younger runners like Santana Scott will be working to fill in the gaps.

For the girls, junior Jessica Tea-Hui of Evart tied for third in 5-3.

“She did awesome,” said Evart girls coach Amanda Langell. “She was calm cool and turned it on and did it.”

Grace Hamilton was seeded 28th and finished around 17th in the 3,200-meter run.

Place finishers in the top eight scored points for their team.