Evart distance runners move on to state finals

EVART — Evart’s boys track team had a big day in the Division 3 regionals Friday at Scottville-Mason County Central.

Morley Stanwood had 129 points for the team title while Clare was second with 107. Kent City was third with 75 and Evart fourth with 61.

The Evart 3,200-meter relay was first in 8:16 with the foursome of Logan Hammer, Jesse Lang, David Zinger and Tonio Militello. They set a new school record, breaking the old one by 10 seconds.

Zinger won the 3,200-meter run in 9:58.38 while Logan Hammer was third in 10:14.18.

Tyler Tracy threw the discus 137-1 for second place.

Zinger was second in 4:32.7 in the 1,600-meter run.

Ricky Miller placed fifth in the pole vault at 12-6. Alec McKay cleared 19-3 in the long jump for sixth place. Jacob Hopkins cleared the high jump 5-11 for eighth place.

Miller, Tracy, Zinger in the 1,600-meter run and 3,200-meter run and the 3,200-meter relay squad will be going to the state finals June 4 at Comstock Park.

The 800-meter relay foursome of Brady Hasse, Jesse Lang, Militello and Alex Newton was seventh in 1:38.81.

Also placing seventh was the 400-meter relay foursome of Hasse, McKay, Tyler Tracy and Newton in 47.58 seconds.

Militello was fifth in the 800 meters in 2:03.58. Alex Newton was sixth in the 200-meter dash in 24.38.

Tracy qualified for state with his second-place effort in the discus. His best throw has been 139. It’s his first year of throwing the discus. His goal before the season ends is to get 150 feet.

“I need to work on my release,” he said, adding that another key has been “speed on your spin, speed and releasing your technique.”

Tracy said his second best event has been the 400-meter relay.

“One time when we were behind, I caught up with them and we wound up winning it,” Tracy said.

He also plays football and participates in high school rodeo.

Miller also qualified for state in the pole vault.

“All I was worried about was making it while qualifying for state,” Miller said. “I’m happy with what I did.”

“The team’s been doing pretty good,” Tracy said. “We’re probably going to be second in the conference, probably behind Lake City.”

Militello has been in the 3,200-meter, 800-meter and 1,600 meter relay and the open 800 in his junior season. Prior to the regionals, his best time had been 2:05.8 in the 800.

To keep decreasing his time, “I definitely need to do more endurance training and more speed work,” Militello said. “I need a change of diet. I’ve been eating pretty poorly.

“Most of the races we’ve had when I take off I’m usually at the front of the pack unless it’s really competitive. At most of the conference meets, I’m usually at the front and it’s usually a hard first lap and I’m able to maintain fairly decently the second lap. I’m working on improving my middle 400 so that starting at the 200, I’m working on it. The start and finish sort of take care of themselves.”

Militello said the team has had its best season since he was a freshman.

“It’s been dedication,” he said. “We’ve worked hard in practice. We have some pretty talented freshmen. We’re been pushing each other. A lot of the seniors are realizing it’s their last year and they want to work harder.”

“We had a lot of personal bests,” Evart coach Jim Crawford said. “To end up fourth out of 15 teams was an outstanding day.”

Miller has focused on the pole vault this season. He’s been doing it four years since the seventh grade.

“Everybody said ‘you have the perfect body to be a pole vaulter,’” Miller said. “I said ‘ I guess I’ll try it.’ I thought it’d be fun. Who gets to go high in the air by using a pole?’

His best last season was 11-6. He notched a personal record on May 10 at 13-0 in a Highland Conference meet at McBain. His previous PR was 12-3.

“I’ve met my expectations because I wanted to get 13 feet my sophomore year,” Miller said. “That makes me happy. My real goal was to make it to state my sophomore year.”

For Miller, the sprints have been a way for him to stay in shape.

“You just can’t be jumping everyday,” he said. “You have to do some running so you can have stamina.”

Pole vaulting hasn’t been only a spring thing for Miller.

“I’ve been taking clinics in the summer and trying to keep up with everybody else,” he said.