Evart cross country wins regional title

Evart reigned supreme in the boys Division 4 regionals at Benzie Central on Saturday and will take aim at a state title this Saturday at Michigan International Speedway near Brooklyn.

The Evart boys took the top four spots and coasted to the victory with a 22-56 advantage over second-place Grand Traverse Academy.

David Zinger, Logan Hammer, Max Hodges and Antonio Militello took the top four spots for Evart in 15:47.02, 16:29.59, 16:34.99 and 16:56.43. Alex Newton was 14th in 1747.27, Ryan Tuttle 17th in 18:07.63 and Brian Flachs 28th in 18:47.25.

“They say running is 80 percent mental so all week we were working on the mental aspect,” said Evart coach Andy Eichelberger. “We’re at the point of the season where we should be in shape. The kids were focused. They were bound and determined to do their best. I was very pleased. It couldn’t have gone better.”

Evart finished fifth for the girls and were led by regional champion Katelyne VanMourick with a time of 19:43.85. She’s the lone Evart girls qualifier for the state meet.

Grace Hamilton was 17th in 21:09.73. Briana Conner was 35th in 22:55.59, Katilyn Parsons 41st in 23:18.29, Bridget Moore 55th in 24:42.78 and Franziska Kroenke 60th in 26:53.49.

Eichelberger noted that everyone except Hammer set a personal record.

“Of 14 runners, (boys and girls), 13 ran their personal best,” Eichelberger said. “Hammer was close.”

The Evart boys will enter the state finals ranked third in the state.

“I would say (we could finish) anywhere from one to three,” said Eichelberger, who also expects Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart and Concord to contend. “Looking at the times and what courses they’re running, with the top three, it could go either way. It depends on who has the better day on Saturday.”

This marks the third straight year the Wildcats have been at the state finals and their second season in Division 4. They were Division 3 a year ago.

Eichelberger hopes to see VanMourick break 19:30.


Joe Oehrli will be representing Reed City again in the Division 3 state finals.

Oehrli qualified for Saturday’s run at Michigan International Speedway, near Brooklyn,

Oehrli, a senior, was second in 15:56.06, finishing behind Mason County Central’s Chase Barnett, who clocked a 15:47.40.

Also for Reed City, Drake Walker was 63rd in 18:39.55 and Matt McGahey 72nd in 19:45.6.

Reed City’s three girl runners finished 56th, 57th and 58th with Amanda Steig finishing in 23:16.03, Lindsey Ridderman in 23:16.47 and Emily McIntosh in 23:23.43.

“Everybody had a PR,” said Reed City coach Brad Smith, adding that it was also a PR and season’s best for Oehrli. “I think he’ll improve his time (at state finals). It’s a flat course. It should be a good race for him. We’re hoping the weather holds out.”

Oehrli finished 30th last year at the state finals.

“We’re definitely hoping for a top 10 if not better,” Smith said.


Pine River finished eighth for the boys and 10th for the girls in the Division 3 regionals at Benzie Central.

Trevor Holmes was the lone PR runner who qualified for the state finals this Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. He was ninth in 16:32.05.

Also for the Bucks, Caleb Elkins was 28th in 17:31.14, Greg Schaefer 32nd in 17:42.86, Joshua Phillips 58th in 18:29.74, Mitchell Kelsey 61st in 18:37.07 and Ben Rigling 64th in 18:50.

For the Pine River girls, Devyn Powell was 23rd in 20:13.4, Jasmine Huback 51st in 22:57.47, Gabie Gilbert 67th in 23:54.39, Jessica Stonto 70th in 24:10.46 and Rachel Hartline 75th in 24:21.45.

“Six of the seven boys ran their personal best time and five of the six girls got their best time,” said Bucks coach Ross Vrieze.


Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with Herald Review as well as the Pioneer and The Lake County Star. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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