Evart boys track team takes aim at antoher state title

HOPKINS
HOPKINS

EVART — Evart’s boys track team opens the 2014 season as two-time defending state champs and reigning Highland Conference kings.

Coach Dennis Peacock and his athletes wouldn’t mind much of the same for this spring.

The Wildcats are scheduled to run this Friday indoors at the Grand Valley State Invitational. After spring break the first dual  is April 17 at Mesick. The first Highland Conference action is April 22 at McBain. The first home meet is April 24 with Kingsley.

Peacock has about 30 boys on his roster and had them outside whenever possible.

“We’re trying to make the best of it like everybody with this nasty weather,” he said.

Mid-distance runner Max Hodges is the defending state champ in the 800 meter dash for Division 4. He set the conference record in that event also. Larry VanBuren will contribute in the throws and sprints for Evart while Dean Marsh returns as conference champ in the discus and was all-league in the shot.

“We have a nice group of newcomers, a nice group of freshman kids,” Peacock said. “Dylan Danley last year was part of our sprint relays for the state meet. He was a freshman. We’re excited about him.”

Santana Scott and Zach Douglass give the Wildcats depth in the distances.

Evart won the Highland last year, and overcame challenges from Lake City and Pine River. Peacock hinted those three could be the top contenders again.

“We lost a group of seniors that was really talented,” Peacock said, referring to Logan Hammer, Nate Struble and David Zinger. “Beal City had some decent sprinters last year and their cross country team was fifth in the state. You never know, they could be strong.”

Jacob Hopkins missed most of the basketball season to a knee injury but has received doctor’s permission to run track. He’s a high jumper and is expected to give the Wildcats valuable points.