Scott takes Division 4 state cross country title

EVART — He just won the Division 4 individual boys state cross country championship, but the most popular question to Evart senior Santana Scott wasn’t necessarily how it felt being No. 1.

Another popular question was: “What’s up with that hairdo?”

Scott ended his high school career by taking first place in the Division 4 race Saturday morning. Scott’s time was 16:05.7, and he finished well ahead of second-place runner Zachary Pettinga of Saugatuck (16:22.2).

Scott and Wildcat junior Josh Woods, 29th overall in 17:04.3, earned all-state honors.

Prior to the race, Scott and his teammates decided to have a unique bond by shaving the top of their heads.

“That’s what our seniors decided,” Scott said. “It’s what we liked, so we set it.”

Scott played catch-me-if-you-can by mostly leading from start to finish.

“(Pettinga) went side-by-side a couple of times,” Scott said. “Otherwise, I was winning almost the whole time.”

“I was real excited to see Santana win it,” Evart coach Kevin Mills said. “He always comes through in the big races. That’s excitement there.”

The race was at Michigan International Speedway near Brooklyn. It wasn’t Scott’s best career time, but he still felt strong the entire race.

“It was a pretty good ending,” Scott said of his high school cross country career. “I was a little slower than I wanted to be, but I was winning and that was pretty cool, too.”

Scott said he has talked to some colleges. In the meantime, he’ll focus on indoor and outdoor track seasons.

Evart was eighth as a team. Woods was 23rd in the team race.

“I was very happy,” he said. “I ran a PR. It was a good race. It was warmer than usual but a little bit windy. We’re used to having wind here. It was extra windy today. That made it a little rough.”

Nathan Woods was 33rd (17:30.1), Andrew Bengry 77th (18:15.9) and Alex Hamilton 102nd (18:48.0).

“It was a mixed bag for the team,” Mills said. “Some of the guys got some great races and some were OK. Josh Woods got a seven-second PR. It was awesome to see that. Nathan Woods ran a strong race. He was close to a PR.”

Mills smiled when asked who came up with the bald-look idea.

“That’s the team, but it’s probably Santana Scott,” Mills said. “He’s most likely to instigate it for that. I think it’s fun, it’s a great team bonding activity.”

Scott graduates along with Andrew Bengry and Micah Wetters, but there are some Wildcats returning, including the Woods brothers.

“Next year will be interesting,” Josh Woods said. “We have strong freshmen (and other underclassmen). Hopefully we can all push together. We’ll have a young team.”