Evart runner second at XC state final

BROOKLYN — The cold, windy weather didn’t affect Evart’s Santana Scott on Saturday.

The Wildcat junior had the area’s best performance at the state cross country finals at Michigan International Speedway with a second-place finish in Division 4.

It was the first of eight state races during the day and started in mid-morning with a strong wind and temperatures in the mid 30’s.

Senior Jesse Hersha of Concord won the race in 15:23 and Scott followed in 15:54.7. The third-place runner was far behind Scott, Nick Pung of Beal City in 16:19.3.

Beal City, Evart’s Highland Conference rival, also won the state meet with 105 points, finishing ahead of second-place Saugatuck with 109.

“I was pleased with it,” Scott, adding that he started thinking second place was a reality after the mile mark. “I had good mental (abilities).”

The cold and windy factor “is how I run best,” he said.

Of the 27 teams at the meet, Evart was 14th with 377 points.

Also for the Wildcats, Josh Woods was 18th in 17:11, Micah Wetters 83rd in 18:29, Andrew Bengry 106th in 18:56.72, and Nick Niles 168th in 20:33.38. Those were places for team scoring. Woods’ overall placing, with runners not on a full team, was 26th and earned him, along with Scott, all-state status.

“It was cold but I felt good,” Bengry said. “The advantage was I wasn’t sweating all over, that was nice. I ran hard the whole race.”

“It was a pretty good race, kind of cold,” Niles said. “It kind of helps. I didn’t really feel the wind. I felt really fast.”

It was Niles’ first appearance at the state meet.

“I think I did pretty good,” Niles said. “I hope to make it back next year.”