Cross country teams start practices this week

REED CITY  — They’re running for real now.

Wednesday is the first day of official cross country practices for area teams that will start running for real next week.

Evart coach Kevin Mills and his team will be at Camp Living Waters by Luther to open the season.

“It’s next to the natural forest so there’s nice trails back there,” Mills said.

The first meet is next week at Benzie Central. The first home meet is Sept. 9 with Farwell and Harrison. The other home meet is Oct. 7 with Beaverton.

Practices will start back at the school next week.

Reed City coach Brad Smith will also have his team beginning practices Wednesday. Smith indicated earlier this week that from preseason signups, he might have up to 16 girls but only two boys runners. After the day off Friday, the team will be practicing next week.

Reed City, like Evart, will open Aug. 23 at the Pete Moss Invitational in Benzie. The next one is Aug. 26 at Chippewa Hills.

Smith has talked to some runners that have put some time in during the summer.

“They probably haven’t done as much as they should but they’re doing a little bit,” he said.

Ross Vrieze is coaching a Pine River team that will have its annual invitational Oct. 4. He’ll be having practices 7-9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday of this week. He has about 20 boys and 20 girls runners signed up.

“We should have a good full team on both sides,” Vrieze said. “We’ve grown gradually the last few years.”