Evart junior cross country runner of to impressive start

EVART — Santana Scott has gotten off to a strong start for the Evart cross country team and his coach, Kevin Mills, couldn’t be happier.

Scott is in his junior season and the top returning runner for the Wildcats, who are five-time reigning Highland Conference champions.

“It was OK, was hot out,” he said after a home meet last week against Harrison and Farwell, the fourth of the season. “It could be 20 degrees cooler and maybe a faster course.”

His best time had been around 17:22.

“That’s OK for this early in the season, getting off summer training,” he said. “I’m starting to get in more of a hard workout.”

He put in about 50 miles a week during the summer.

Scott has played a key role for the Wildcats his first two seasons as an Evart runner.

“My freshman year, I ran a (16:54.1) at state (for 36th place overall),” he said. “We won conference my sophomore year.”

He wants to win the Highland Conference this season and run lower than 16.30. His personal best is 16:52 at an open 5K. His best time in a high school race has been 16:54. Hard workouts have been helping out, he said.

Scott said the second and third miles have been the strongest parts of his race.

“I have a hard time getting my legs loose the first mile after that,” he said.

Scott and Josh Woods have been going one-two for Evart this season. Micah Wetters and Devin Day have been three-and-four.

The Wildcats graduated some fine runners from last season, including Max Hodges, but still expect to be competitive this season.

“We’re hoping to win the conference, maybe,” Scott said. “Beal City is going to be pretty hard.”

By the Chippewa Hills race in mid-October, Scott hopes to start peaking. The race will be followed by the regionals and then the state finals.