Evart boys win MITCA team state title

EVART — It went down to the wire at Gobles High School on Saturday but at the end, the Evart Wildcats were holding a Division 4 state championship trophy.

Athletic director and assistant track coach Randy Kruse said it’s the only state title, according to available records, that he’s aware of that an Evart team has ever won.

The Wildcats scored 910 points at the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association (MITCA) state team meet to take the state title for the first time in school history.

Evart had a strong performance in the day’s final event, the 1,600-meter relay, which coach Jim Crawford said sealed the Wildcats’ state title.

“Everyone exploded,” he said. “When we got to town, the Evart Fire Department was there and we got escorted down U.S. 10 down the main road and back to the high school.”

In Division 2, Chippewa Hills’ girls team took seventh place at the MITCA team championships, collecting 1060.5 points, behind Hamilton, which won the title with 1629 points.

The Warriors were led by Megan O’Neil, who finished second overall in the the 800 meters at 2:19.10 as well as the 1,600 meters at 5:05.95. O’Neil also placed fourth in the 3,200 meters with a time of 11:33.13.

MITCA invites teams to its meet that finished first or second in their respective regionals, sponsored by the Michigan High School Athletic Association. Evart qualified by winning its MHSAA Division 4 regional on May 19.

At the MITCA meet, all participants from a school in an event receive a certain number of points depending on their performance and that placing is recorded in the team totals.

In Division 4, Summerfield was second to Evart with 879 points while Sand Creek was third at 878.

“We knew it was going to be tight,” said Crawford. “We were battling (Summerfield) the whole day.”

Pole vaulter Ricky Miller said winning a state title was an indescribable feeling.

“It was really amazing, so much adrenaline was pumping,” he said. “We weren’t expecting how big of a deal it really was.”

Sprinter Brady Hasse said it felt good to be a part of history.

“I think it’s pretty awesome to be the first state champions in Evart’s history,” he said. “We had strong individual and strong relays where we all contributed and got a lot of points.”

Evart took first in the 3,200-meter relay in 8:10.62 with the foursome of Logan Hammer, Andrew Militello, Jesse Lang and Max Hodges. The 400-meter foursome of Hasse, Alexander Newton, Austin Grein and Nathan Struble at 45.45 seconds also took first.

The foursome of Brady Hasse, Antonio Militello, Alexander Newton and Jesse Lang was third in the 800 relay at 1:36.37.

Zinger won the 800-meter run in 2:01.27, Max Hodges was third in 2:02.72 and Antonio Militello fifth in 2:04.81.

“We took David (Zinger) out of (one of the relays) and put him in the open 800 and he set a school record in 2:10.44,” Crawford said. “He set the record for that (in his leg of the ) 4 by 800 relay (which had a time of) 8:10.62. That’s nine seconds off what they did before.

“David has been awesome. He just wants us to win.”

Zinger, Hammer and Hodges were second-third-fourth in the 1,600-meter run in 4:36.82, 4:40.06 and 4:44.21. Newton was fourth in the 200-meter dash in 23.37. Zinger and Hodges were one-two in the 3,200-meter run in 10:20.62 and Logan Hammer 10:27.12. Hodges was fifth in 10:50.68.

In the final event, Evart picked up 36 points by placing fifth in the 1,600-meter relay with the foursome of Hammer, David Flachs, Militello and Zinger in 3:39.3. Summerfield took eighth for 18 points, a difference of 18 points for Evart in its battle for first place in the team standings.

“It all came down for us to the mile relay,” Crawford said. “David Flachs had to replace one of our runners and he stepped up.

“After the two mile, we were up by 13 points,” he added. “We did the matchups and we knew what needed to happen in the mile relay.”

In the field events, Miller was fifth in the pole vault at 12-6.

“We all pushed ourselves to our limits,” Miller said. “We worked as a team. That’s what it’s all about.”

Cody Bullock was fourth in the discus at 123-9.

Struble was also seventh in the high jump and 15th in the long jump.

“I was a great win,” Struble said. “I usually don’t get nervous during sporting events but I was super nervous then. I went in thinking we had a good chance I would have been happy with second or third. But I’m super happy with first.”

Chippewa Hills also got strong performances from Erin Drouillard, who finished third in the pole vault for the Warriors at 10-6, while Corey Robison took fourth in the discus with a throw of 112-1. Robison also finished seventh in the shot put with a throw of 33-11.25. Jackie Sheaffer took ninth place in the 200 meters with a time of 28.02.

Chippewa Hills also took fifth place in the 3,200 meter relay at 9:49.11 with a team of O’Neil Kylie Schafer, Emily Starck and Larissa Umbleby.

MITCA Division 4 State Championship top 10 finishers


3,200-meter relay: 1.-Evart, Logan Hammer, Antonio Militello, Jesse Lang and Max Hodge, 8:10.62.

100 meter dash: 5. -Alexander Newton, 11.82; 7.-Nathan Struble, 11.90.

800 meter relay: 3.- Brady Hasse, Antonio Militello, Alexander Newton, Jesse Lang, 1:36.37.

1,600 meter run: 2.-David Zinger, 4:36.82; 3.-Logan Hammer, 4:40.06; 4.-Max Hodges, 4:44.21.

400-meter relay: 1.-Evart, Brady Hasse, Alexander Newton, Austin Grein and Nathan Struble, 45.45.

800 meter run: 1.-David Zinger, E, 2:01.27; 3.-Max Hodges, E, 2:02.72; 5.-Antonio Militello, 2:04.81.

200 meter dash: 4.-Alexander Newton, 23.37.

3,200 meter run: 1.-David Zinger, 10:20.62; 2.-Logan Hammer, 10:27.12; 5.-Max Hodges, 10:50.68.

1,600-meter relay: 5.-Logan Hammer, Antonio Militello, David Zinger, David Flachs, 3:39.30.

High jump: 7.-Nathan Struble, 5-4.

Pole vault: 5.-Richard Miller, 12-6.

Long jump: 8.-Brady Hasse, 18-2.25.

Discus: 4.-Cody Bullock, 123-9.

Shot put: 7.-Dean Marsh, 42-2.5.