EVART - Evart's cross country team officially opened practices this week in hopes of building on a tradition that included a Division 4 state-runner-up finish last season. Of Evart's top three last season, only Max Hodges, a senior, returns as Logan Hammer and David Zinger have graduated. Hodges said he would usually get in 30 to 40 miles during the summer to keep in shape. His best time was 16:21 for cross country last season. He hopes to get into the 15-minute range this year. The Wildcats have a new coach with Kevin Mills. "We're losing David and Logan but we're gaining a few stronger runners," Hodges said. "We have a freshman coming up. We have Santana (Scott) who stepped up extraordinarily last year. I'm thinking he's going to get even better this year. We have Zack Douglas. We're going to have a strong five. We have a good chance at beating Concord (for state)." Hodges is looking to get more consistent in his mileage. "I usually go out hard the first mile and slow down the second mile and pick it up the third mile," he said. "I'd like to keep it consistent all three." Hodges said it's helped to have open runs during the summer that have originated from Mills' house. "I get tired of running, but then I come to this and it gets me back in the mood, then I train harder and actually want to go out and run," Hodges said.