Pine River, Reed City football top 10 sports list for 2016

The year is coming to a close and it’s time to reflect on the area’s top 10 sports stories for 2016.

1.) Pine River football, state semifinalists

An Osceola County football team advanced to the state semifinals for the first time when Pine River defeated Harrison and Morley Stanwood for the district title in the postseason and defeated Ravenna for the regional title. That put the Bucks in the state semifinals against Maple City Glen Lake which scored the win 34-20.

The Bucks, 9-4, also won the Highland Conference title. Dream team members included Hunter Esiline, Mason Powell Bryan McCurry, Joe Rigling and Tristen Nelson.

2.) Reed City football, district champs

Reed City graduated several key players from 2015 but still won a sixth straight Central State Activities Association title plus the district crown for the second time in three seasons. The Coyotes won a record number of games and were 11-0 before falling 40-14 to Menominee in the regional final. Standouts included dream team members Brandon Evans, Michael Johnson, Jackson Miller, Logan Straub, Trent Sturgell and Zachary Wirgau, plus coach of the year Monty Price.

3.) Reed City athletic renovations

A renovation project approved by Reed City voters in May will mean a new track and improved drainage for the football field. Construction is scheduled to start in the spring and be ready by the 2017 football season.

A proposal that would have meant new softball and baseball diamonds and expansion of the existing gym was not approved.

4.) Pine River athletic renovations

Pine River’s athletic facilities will have several renovations within the next two seasons by virtue of a bond issue approved in May.

While phase one, which includes a new roof for the school, is targeted to be completed by the start of the 2017-18 school year, athletic facilities renovation is set for 2018-19. That will include a new track and football field drainage, new high school gym floor and bleachers, and a new wrestling room.

5.) Reed City girls basketball, district champions

It was a Cinderella season for the Reed City girls basketball team, which had gone 0-21 the previous season, and secured a district title with dramatic wins over Big Rapids and Clare. The Coyotes, under dream team coach of the year Brian Koopman finished at 11-12.

6.) Evart track, Santana Scott

Santana Scott ended a fabulous four-year cross country and track career at Evart. In the track and field meet, he won the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter races and helped his team get second place in the state in Division 4. Scott is now running at Detroit-Mercy.

7.) Pine River wrestling

The Bucks advanced to Central Michigan University and the Division 3 semifinals with a 35-34 edging over Decatur in the quarterfinals. Hudson defeated the Bucks 55-18 in the semifinal round.

8.) Pine River girls basketball

The Bucks started out 0-2, getting used to the absence of graduated all-stater Kassy Nelson, but then rolled to the Highland Conference title, led by the Justin cousins, Julie and Kierra. They lost to McBain in a tight Class C district title game.

9.) Evart football

The Wildcats posted a 6-3 regular-season record and qualified for the football playoffs, led by dream team members Danny Griffin, Layne Nadig and Cody Pritchard.

10.) Reed City basketball coaching change

Dean McGuire resigned after four seasons as Reed City boys basketball coach a month prior to the start of practices.

He was replaced by Reed City native and former Coyote basketball player JJ Eads.