Zinger, Evart runners take first at Pine River Invitational

AND THEY’RE OFF: Pine River and Evart runners get off to a flying start during the Pine River Invitational. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)
AND THEY’RE OFF: Pine River and Evart runners get off to a flying start during the Pine River Invitational. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

LEROY – David Zinger hasn’t had the type of season he would have liked for the Evart cross country squad but the talented Wildcat senior has still had some outstanding performances for his team including a first-place performance at Saturday’s Pine River Invitational.

Zinger was first in 16:53.6 while his two teammates, Max Hodges and Logan Hammer were two-three at 17:03.8 and 17:17.1.

They led the way for a first-place Evart effort with 25 points, finishing ahead of Pine River at 45, Manton at 91, Harrison 109, Mesick 141, Frankfort 173, Lake City 186 and McBain NMC 203.

Reed City competed but did not have a full scoring team.

Those three have been one-two-three at several meets this season for Evart and not always in the same order. This day, it was Zinger in charge during a morning that featured temperatures around 40 and a moderate wind.

“It’s cold out, but it was helpful,” Zinger said. “I haven’t had the best year so far. But it’s getting better and I hope to improve a lot.”

Being cool “made it better,” Pine River’s Trevor Holmes said. “It made us all run faster. I think I had faster times than I thought we would.”

Devyn Powell of Pine River won the girls race. Manton took first place at 60 while Pine River was second at 81, followed by Harrison at 91, Marion 96, Evart 115, Buckley 136, Mesick 141, Frankfort 173, Lake City 186 and McBain NMC 203.

For the boys, Osceola County runners dominated the top five. Chad Zagacki of Reed City was fourth in 17:45.7 and Trevor Holmes of Pine River fifth in 17:50.8.

Also for Reed City, Drake Walker was 24th in 19:56.5, Kris Kellogg 25th in 19:59.8 and Matt McGahey 31st in 20:19.8.

Also for Evart, Santana Scott was ninth in 18:28.8 and Zach Douglas 13th in 18:55.7. Ryan Tuttle was 21st in 19:49.9

“With the boys, I was very impressed with my fourth and fifth runners,” said Evart coach Andy Eichelberger. “They’re moving up and getting closer to the top three.”

Also for Pine River, Greg Schafer was eighth in 18:28.5, Elliot VanDrummel 10th in 18:49.9, Chris TerBergh 15th in 19:11.3 and Joshua Phillips 16th in 19:16.3

“I was pushing it the whole way,” Schafer said.

Powell’s winning time was 20:46.9, well ahead of second-place finisher Isabelle Putney of Frankfort in 21:12.5.

For Pine River, Erica Loop was 15th in 23:41.6, Jasmine Blackrick 17th in 23:44.3, Rachel Hartline 32nd in 24:55.6 and Alyssa Geer 37th in 25:22.4.

“There were a couple of kids that were sick and it showed in their times,” said Pine River coach Ross Vrieze of both his teams. “With the conditions of the day and the course, I couldn’t ask for anything better.

“The kids are excited, it’s a home met and homecoming weekend. Their friends were watching them. It sometimes runs into their nervousness.”

Grace Hamilton led Evart, taking fourth in 21:37.4. Mara VanOrder was 11th in 23:17.4 for Evart while Clairese Clark was 33rd in 24:58.4, Taylor McLachlan 41st in 26:13.4, Stevie Duey 53rd in 28:22.2 and Natalie Belleville 54th in 28:27.4.

“I was pleased with the way our 3-4-5 runners have moved up,” Eichelberger said.

“The times didn’t necessarily show it but the course was different with a lot of turns and rolling hills. The gap between the first and fifth runners are getting less for both of our teams.”

McKenzie Cornelius was sixth in 22:26.4 to lead Reed City. Also for the Coyotes, Marie Kinsey was 42nd in 26:17, Hannah Cowsert 57th in 29:44.3 and Mariah Cowsert 62nd in 32:46.5.

“It seemed like everybody was running well,” said Reed City coach Brad Smith. “It wouldn’t say we had the fastest times. We ran pretty well for as cold as it was. Most of our guys are warm-weather runners. They prefer the warmer weather. They’re getting better and stronger as the season progresses. It’s hardest to judge if the weather was any factor.”