LEROY — Former Pine River athlete Devyn Powell will be returning to Saginaw Valley State University in a few weeks to continue to work on a track and field career that looked promising during her freshman season.

A sprinter for Saginaw Valley, Powell had a productive season for the NCAA Division II and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference school.

“Indoor season went extremely well,” Powell said. “I ended up taking sixth (in the 400) at the GLIAC. Outdoors didn’t go as well as I was hoping. I was also injured at the time so I can’t be too hard on myself.”

At the Northwood Invitational, Powell was on the 4x400 relay team that won (3:50.48) and during the middle of the outdoor season, on the 4x100 team that was second (48.58). She also ran the 200 indoors.

Her best time was 57.4 seconds in the 400 and 26.0 for the 200.

“She had a great year,” said Rod Cowan, Saginaw Valley women’s track coach, said. “She ended up being our best women’s 400-meter runner on the team, which is kind of rare as a freshman. She scored indoors in the open 400 and the 4 x400 relay. Outdoors, she scored in the 4x100 relay and 4 x400 relay. As a freshman, she had a pretty good year.”

Powell was an all-state track athlete at Pine River. Many athletes struggle in college sports as freshmen. But Powell, a sprinter majoring in occupational therapy, was a successful track rookie.

“She was coachable and had a great work ethic,” Cowan said. “Being a part of the team was not enough. She wanted to make a mark.”

The transition from high school to college was definitely challenging, Powell recalled.

“The workouts were extremely different from high school,” she said. “They were more intense, which required a lot of lifting and a lot more work.”

Powell had a stress fracture in her foot, which hampered her during the outdoor season, but said she’s at 100 percent now.

Cowan is anxious to see what Powell will do as a sophomore.

“In a well structured program like ours and with some lifting, I think she’ll be better suited her sophomore year,” Cowan said. “I would love to see her finish in a top spot in the open 400 outdoors and I look for her to make a big contribution on our 4x400 relay team, which has the ability to get to the national championship meet.”

“My goals are definitely to beat the times I set my freshman year,” she said, “and to stay injury free and to move up in my placement in the 400.”

The Saginaw Valley team was young last season, Powell said.

“This coming year will be a good one for us,” she said.