Evart cross country coach stays busy in offseason

EVART – It was a busy fall sports season for Andy Eichelberger. But he’s planning on keeping very busy this winter.

Eichelberger, who coaches Evart cross country teams, is coming off a season in which the boys squad took second place in the state finals for Division 4.

The Wildcats will have a stiff challenge replacing state individual runner-up

David Zinger, plus another all-stater in Logan Hammer. But all-stater Max Hodges will be back and Eichelberger is already smiling thinking of next season’s prospects.

“I think next year looks very bright,” Eichelberger said. “We have an eighth grader coming up, Josh Woods. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to contribute at the varsity level next year.”

Evart had an eighth runner Micah Wetters who showed promise.

“He was only one second behind my seventh man,” said Eichelberger. “My seventh man is a senior and Micah is a freshman. I think he’ll be fine next year.”

Probably all of the runners will be in track during the spring, Eichelberger noted, and work out during the summer.

Sophomore Santana Scott and juniors Zach Douglas and Ryan Tuttle will be returning.

Many of the girls are back except for two. Grace Hamilton and Mara VanOrder are the top two runners returning.

Meanwhile, Eichelberger also has a hunting season that he continues to focus upon, depending on his work schedule.

“I (was) definitely hoping to go deer hunting on opening day (Thursday),” Eichelberger said. “Before that, I hope to do some partridge hunting (with his bird dog). I hope to get her out in the woods too.

“I think the deer numbers are down a little. I think there’s more bucks, at least from what I’ve observed. The bird hunting is definitely down, that’s from my experience from how little I’ve been in the woods and from friends of mine out there more than I am, Bird numbers are down this year. They kind of fluctuate.”

But Eichelberger has another season he’s really looking forward to: rabbit hunting.

“I usually wait until the deer hunters are out of the woods,” he said. “I think the rabbit numbers are pretty good this year. The spring season started early. I think the rabbits had an extra litter than normal. It was quite warm in April.”