Evart senior putting in strong contributions as No. 4 runner

EVART — Andrew Bengry played a valuable role for the Evart cross country team this season.

The Wildcats were eighth Saturday at the state final.

Bengry, a senior, was usually the No. 4 runner behind Santana Scott and brothers Josh and Nathan Gray.

The Wildcats were second on Oct. 30 at the Division 4 regionals hosted by Carson City-Crystal. Bengry was fourth on the team and 20th overall in 17:52.55, for a season’s best. His previous best time was 18:15.52 at a meet in Ogemaw Heights.

A key race for Bengry was in late October when he was 10th overall and fourth for his team in a league jamboree at home, sealing the Highland title for Evart.

“It was muggy,” Bengry said after that race. “It was too warm.”

By regional and state, cooler temperatures would be more to Bengry’s liking.

It’s Bengry’s third year of cross country, and he acknowledged this was his best year “by far.”

By running over the summer months, “I started the season in better shape,” he said.

Bengry wanted to get in the 17:30s before the season ends, and took a big step in that direction at regionals. Reducing his time will come in the second and third mile, he indicated.

“I have a good start,” he said. “I try to hang in as long as I can. My first mile is generally my best.”

Bengry had high hopes for the Wildcats at the state finals.

“It’s the same exact people we had as last year,” he said. “We’re more experienced and in better shape overall.”

A top five, possibly top three, was the goal for Evart since preseason for a state finish. Bengry was 77th (18:15.9) at state meet, conducted at Michigan International Speedway.