Zinger wins cross country race under humid conditions
EVART — Cross country runners from Reed City and Evart braved humid conditions and temperatures in the 90s to pull together a nonscoring meet on Thursday.
Reed City did not have enough numbers for a team score. But top Coyote runner Joe Oehrli was able to put together a test against another candidate for all-state honors in David Zinger of Evart.
Zinger was first in 16:22 while Oehrli was second in 16:56. Also for Evart, Logan Hammer was third in 17:45, followed by Max Holmes in 19:09, Alex Newton in 19:35 and Antonio Miletillo in 20:27.
Drake Walker was second for Reed City and seventh overall in 20:31. Evart’s Ryan Tuttle was eighth in 22:01 and Brian Flachs 10th in 22:07.
Heat conditions especially took a toll on Hammer.
“It was horrible,” he said. “I wish it had never happened, to be honest. It was way too hot. I (vomited) after the race. It was absolutely horrible.”
Otherwise it’s been an “excellent” season as far as Hammer is concerned.
“The last two meets, I’ve improved my time immensely,” he said. “I ran a new PR (16:50) at the last meet (at Benzie).”
Hammer hopes to get into 16:39.
“More than anything, I want to see our team become more of a family,” he said. “So far we’ve done some team bonding. We need to have more interaction with each other and hang out. We’re losing two guys because they’re seniors. We need to be together more.’”
Hammer said the mental aspect of the race is his strong suit.
“I want to get better at being steady,” he said. “I’ve been working on my form.”
Evart’s Katelyne VanMourik was first for the girls in 22:08. Taylor McLachlin of Evart was next in 25:17 and Grace Hamilton fourth in 27:16.
“We did all right, considering the weather,” Eichelberger said, adding that the Oehrli-Zinger matchup “could have gone either way. It was a good match up.”
Reed City’s top runner was Amanda Steig in 26:30 while Lindsey Ridderman was the No. 2 Coyote runner in 28:30 and Emily McIntosh clocked a 29:09.
“I wish I would have gotten a better time but the heat did some damage on me,” VanMourik, a senior, said.
Going to the state finals was a highlight for VanMourik, who hopes to go again and also finish first in the Highland Conference.
Her best time has been 20:01. She’s hoping to get into the 18- or 19-minute range this year.
“I think I need to work more on hills and endurance,” she said.
The Evart team “started off doing good but I think we’re getting better,” she said. “I hope I can keep peaking all the way through.”
“All the kids struggled with the heat,” VanMourik said. “Hopefully, things will get better for us.”
The Bucks were idle last week and will run at Mason County Central on Thursday.
Trevor Holmes, a transfer from Cadillac has been among the top runners for the Bucks. Devyn Powell has been leading the girls.
“She’s one of our top runners,” said Pine River coach Ross Vrieze. “The girls have been fighting some injuries.”