Evart girls track team looking to be a factor in Highland Conference

EVART —  Second-year coach Ken Willems is hoping for another productive season from the Evart girls track and field team.

It won’t be easy with several high point getters, including state high jump champion Jessica Tea-hui, having graduated from last year.

Todd Scott is an assistant for both boys and girls. Willems’ wife, Ann, also is an assistant for the girls team.

Last season, Evart tied Manton for second in the Highland Conference and finished a close second to Marion in the Division 4 regional.

Evart competed in an unscored indoor meet in late March at Saginaw Valley. There were 32 Division 3 and 4 teams at the meet. Senior Tabby Turley was second in the 60-meter hurdles and third in the long jump (15-10). Allyssa Witbeck was fourth in the long jump and second in the high jump (5-0).

Mara VanOrder was second in the 400 (62.28). “They medaled the top six places,” Willems said. “We had a number of eighths, ninths and 10ths. But no one else medaled.”

Turley, VanOrder and Witbeck will be among the main point producers for Evart.

Turley will be in several events.

“She’s long jumping for the first time,” Willems said. “The points she got at Saginaw was the first competition in long jumping she had done.”

VanOrder is expected to be in the 400, the 4x100 relay and the 200. She’ll also throw the discus.

Witbeck, will be in the high jump, long jump, pole vault and 4x100 relay.

Lexie Fehrenbach is a pole vaulter and will do the hurdles and also runs in the 400 and 800. Tina Fournier will be on the 4x100 relay team along with Witbeck, VanOrder and Turley.

Kristin Kullman will be in the 400 and 800.

“I’m looking for her to have her best season,” Willems said. Other potential point scorers are freshman Macey Wallace in the long jump and the middle distances. “She’s a good athlete and I’m sure she’ll score points,” Willems said.

Sarah Nelson is a freshman, who will be in the discus, 1,600 and 3,200. Arianna Mooney will be in the high jump, hurdles and 400. Brooke Belleville will be in the sprints.

Evart’s first outdoor meet will be home April 14 against Reed City.

“We lost a lot of points last year,” Willems said, pointing to the graduation of Tea-hui, Kirstin Parsons and Grace Hamilton. “All three went to state and Jessica was first in the high jump, Kirstin third in shot and Grace 13th in the two mile. That’s a lot of points. Some of the other kids returning are stronger and faster. We have some good newcomers. Whether or not we can make up all those points, I don’t know.”

Evart has dual sports this spring, which was designed to help fill out sports like JV softball and JV baseball, Willems hinted. Some of his track athletes also will be JV softball players, he added.

The Highland Conference meet is May 19 at Manton.

“Beal City will be the favorite to win it again,” Willems said. “We had several teams from the Highland Conference at that Saginaw meet. Marion looks to be strong this year. NMC has more girls this year.”