Hartline leading the way for Pine River runners

LEROY — Derek Hartline has emerged in his senior season as Pine River’s No. 1 cross country runner.

The Bucks graduated several runners last season. Hartline is in his fourth year.

“It’s been going pretty good actually,” he said. “Not having my usual people to run with, I’ve been having to do everything myself, and repacing, and getting back down lower. We have a real young team. I’m a solo senior.”

Hartline put in an extensive amount of miles during the summer.

“I’m hoping to break 18 minutes,” Hartline said, noting that he got 18:01 last year.

“It will take a lot of miles, hard work and determination,” he said, adding the first mile is usually the strongest part of his race and the biggest challenge for him is the second mile. “I need to keep the pace and push through the pain.”

With a young team, Hartline has been trying to be a leader and good motivator for the others and demonstrate the correct running techniques, “so that in the future, we have  a chance to get conference again.”

Hartline will spend his winter getting ready for track.

“I love cross way more,” he smiled. “I love running the trails. In track, you just do circles.”

The regionals will be Saturday for the Bucks, followed by the state finals Nov. 7 at Michigan International Speedway near Brooklyn.