Evart\u2019s Zinger, Cards\u2019 Ruiz have big days at cross country state final BROOKLYN \u2013 Evart celebrated a second-place team finish and also the No. 2 runner in the state to highlight area accomplishments at the state cross country finals on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. David Zinger took second place for the Wildcats, while in Division 2, Clark Ruiz of Big Rapids was third for the boys and Megan O\u2019Neil of Chippewa Hills was seventh for the girls. Here\u2019s a team-by-team review of local participants. EVART Zinger fired in at second place individually in 15:52.8 as his team took second with 100 points behind Concord, which had 61. It was his last race as a senior and Zinger was happy with his performance. \u201cIt\u2019s a pretty good way to go out,\u201d Zinger said. \u201cWe thought we\u2019d get top four. We had no idea.\u201d It was almost an hour after the race, when all the points were totaled that Evart realized it had taken second place, ahead of Pewamo-Westphalia, which had 117. \u201cThis is the best we\u2019ve ever done,\u201d said Evart coach Andy Eichelberger, in his 13th year of coaching. \u201cThey tied for first place at team track (state finals) last year. Now it\u2019s runner-up for cross country.\u201d For team scoring, Max Hodges was seventh in 16:21.1, Logan Hammer 12th in 16:30.5, Santana Scott 22nd in 16:54.1, Zach Douglas 57th in 17:41.9 Ryan Tuttle was 77th in 18:07.3 and Akira Inoue 149th in 19:30.1 With all runners combined, Zinger was second while Hodges was ninth, Hammer 19th, Scott 36th and Douglas 97th. Eichelberger saluted his No. 4 and 5 runners for helping the Wildcats get the necessary points for a high finish. \u201cThey were probably the most improved,\u201d he said. \u201cThey ran smart.\u201d \u201cWe have a good cross country program,\u201d Hodges, a junior said. \u201cWe lose David and Logan. Hopefully, we\u2019ll get some new runners.\u201d Grace Hamilton ran for the Evart girls and was 54th in 20:47.6 for her first year at state. \u201cI went out fast, like I should of,\u201d she said. \u201cI passed people the whole race.\u201d A strong start was a key in her race, Hamilton said. \u201cI went out faster than I have been so I didn\u2019t get boxed in,\u201d Hamilton said. \u201cThe weather was beautiful. It was a little cold. \u201cI had a great season,\u201d she said. \u201cI had a lot of fun with my team.\u201d BIG RAPIDS Clark Ruiz was an all-stater for the fourth year in a row with a time of 15:32.1 for third place in Division 2 boys. Connor Mora of Cedar Springs was first in 15:04.2 and Tanner Hinkle of Mason second in 15:09.8. \u201cHis main goal was top three at state and he got it,\u201d said Big Rapids coach Chase Gibson. \u201cHe had dropped down but the last 400 meters he got back to third.\u201d Ruiz said he worked hard to get in a position to finish well at the state meet. \u201cI\u2019m pretty happy with it, looking back,\u201d Ruiz said. \u201cIt was a rough season and I got to where I wanted to be. I did all I could do.\u201d Ben Shaffer was 34th in 16:02.4 for the Cards while Brent Heberling was 122nd in 16:52.5. Chloe Kinnally was 80th in the girls race in 19:46.8. CHIPPEWA HILLS O\u2019Neil led Chippewa Hills with a time of 18:14.2 for seventh place. She also had two teammates in the race with Emily Starck who was all-state by taking 23rd in 18:37.7 and Kylie Schafer who was 87th in 19:50.6. O\u2019Neil and her teammates noted that the start of the race was rather fast and furious. \u201cIt was just crazy out there,\u201d O\u2019Neil said. \u201cI thought I ran OK,\u201d Starck said. \u201cYou have to get out fast.\u201d \u201cI was happy to be here,\u201d Schafer said. \u201cIt was exciting. It\u2019s my first year and it was a good experience.\u201d OTHERS Trevor Holmes of Pine River got the last spot for Division 3 all-state by placing 30th in 16:29.3. \u201cIt was a good race, about 30 seconds faster than last year,\u201d Holmes said. \u201cIt was determination and pushing through that third mile.\u201d Temperatures were cool, but pleasant, Holmes noted, and the muddy conditions didn\u2019t really slow him down, he said. Chad Zagacki of Reed City was 85th in 17:11.3.