Wildcats get big days in hurdles, distance events

EVART – The weather hasn’t been conducive to outdoor track meets in recent weeks but Evart’s boy and girls teams had a chance to show their stuff at an indoor meet in Grand Valley last weekend.

Rene Ward has taken over as the new Evart girls coach. She was the assistant coach four seasons. A Vassar native, she has taught in the school district nine years.

“This is our third week,” she said on Monday. “We’ve been doing our conditioning and distance runs. We had the indoor meet on Friday.”

Katelyne VanMourik, a junior, had a big day in the hurdles, placing seventh in the 300 hurdles. She will also be in the 400 open for Evart and in the relays.

Two distance runners who look promising are Lydia Wetters and Jessica Tea. The sister combination of Katie and Kirsten Parsons will be in the throws. Ward has 31 girls on her team.

“That’s almost doubled from last year,” she said, adding that the first outdoor meet will be April 12 at home against Morley Stanwood. “We just want to improve every year and have fun. We’ll be strong in our distances and fields.”

Jim Crawford is now in his seventh year as head boys coach at Evart. Last season, Logan Hammer and David Zinger, distance runners, were among the top point producers.

“It’s been really hard, we’ve only been able to be on the track one day the whole spring, then we got this snow,” Crawford said. “It’s hard to find them stuff to do when you’re just running in the parking lot or out on the road.”

Evart picked up seven medals at Grand Valley. The relay team of Hammer, Zinger, Antonio Militello and Alex Newton medaled in the 4 by 600 relay for fifth place. Jacob Hopkins was seventh in the high jump. Alec McKay was ninth in the long jump and seventh in the 400-meter run.

Evart has most of its runners from the fall cross country team that won the Highland title.

“Obviously, we’ll be good in distances,” Crawford said. I’ve got good depth. We’re young. We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores.”