EVART — Cross country season officially starts with practices on Aug. 13. Evart runners are doing what they can to get ready.

Coach Kevin Mills has had gatherings start from the Evart Elementary School every Tuesday, not just for high school runners but for everyone from the community that’s interested.

Nick Niles has been among the summer runners. This fall, he’ll be a junior. It’s his second year of high school cross country.

“I ran like a 23:30 my first one and at the end, I ran a 21:52,” he said. “My competition, (teammate) Gabe (Mooney), he and I leapfrogged. I would beat him, he would beat me. We ended up decreasing our times.”

Usually he was solid the first two miles but struggled with his third.

“I’ve been trying to run three miles a day on the average of five days a week,” Niles said. “I’m hoping to at least get my PR my first race. I want to break 20 before the season is over.”

He also did some running during summer workouts last year, but it was different in 2014.

“To get sore now, I’d actually have to push myself,” Niles said.

Last week was his third cross country run.

“I enjoy running with other people,” he said. “It’s a lot easier.”

Andrew Bengry will be a junior for the cross country team. This fall will be his second season.

Last year, “it went all right,” he said. “I didn’t get down the times I was hoping to get to. I plan on being able to do that this year.”

Bengry’s best time last season was 19:55.

“My first race was a 21:52,” he said. “It was the pressure. I ran the 19:55 in regionals. I think it was the pressure of needing to run faster in order to get to higher competition.”

He was hoping to run more during the summer. He’s been to around four Tuesday summer runs.

“With my times last year, I’d probably like to get down to the 17s,” he said. 

Bengry said he hasn’t run enough yet to determine his strengths as a runner. He also plays basketball and baseball for Evart. Basketball was heavy on his summer agenda.

In cross country, “I want to be competitive but the big push for me to run is to be in better shape for basketball,” Bengry said.

He played varsity for baseball this past spring.