Pine River boys win Highland title

EVART — It came down to the wire to determine the Highland Conference boys track champion Tuesday night.

When the dust settled, Evart was the Highland Conference final meet winner but Pine River wound up as league kings.

The Wildcats won the meet with 167 points but Pine River, which was 7-0 in duals, snuck past Lake City 124 1/2-122 ? for second place in the league meet and was declared conference champs.

“This is excellent,” said Pine River coach Eric Gebhard. “We came in the season and I don't think anyone favored us to win it. We were 7-0 in the conference and we fended off some strong attacks from teams (Tuesday). It's an extremely talented conference. To be on top of it means something.”

For his team to win the league overall, Pine River would have had to end up third, said Evart coach Jim Crawford.

“I was very happy,” he said. “The kids worked hard, all our relay teams have really improved.”

Beal City won the girls meet with 147 points and was league champs. Pine River was second at 106.5 and Evart fourth at 83.5.

In the boys meet, Evart’s Logan Hammer, Jesse Lang, Antonio Militello and Max Hodges were first in the 3,200-meter relay in 8:26.92. Pine River was second in 8:51.81 with Ben Riglin, Quinton Mitchell Trevor Holmes and Ethan Whitley.

In the 110-meter hurdles Dustin Ecker of Pine River was first in 16.15 seconds and also won the 300 hurdles in 42.33 seconds. Teammate Abel Langworthy was first in the 100-meter dash in 11.00.

Evart took the 800-meter relay in 1:35.99 with Brady Hasse, Jesse Lang, Militello and Newton in 1:35.99. Zinger, Hodges and Hammer took the top three spots in the 1,600-meter run in 4:36, 4:43.64 and Hammer in 4:44.11. Zinger took the 800-meter run in 2:01.44 and Newton won the 200-meter dash in 23.49. Hammer crossed the line first in the 3,200-meter run in 10:11.92

“Evart's distances were too much for anyone to overcome,” Gebhard said. “The kids are extremely excited. I'm very proud of them.”

Pine River was second in the 400-meter relay in 45.38.

Evart won the 1,600-meter relay to end the night, with Hammer, Lang, Militello and Zinger first in 3:36.75. Pine River was second in 3:36.85.

In field events, Pine River’s Abel Langworthy was first in 13-6 for the pole vault. Nate Struble was second in the long jump at 18-11.

For the girls, the Bucks’ Devyn Powell won the 100 dash in 12.91 seconds and the 400-meter dash in 57.44 seconds. Pine River was second in the 800 relay in 1:53.54 with Mariah Holmes, Sheena Vokes, Jasmine Blackrick and Michelle Kelsey. Evart was runner-up in the 400 relay with Tabitha Turley, Jessica Tea, Cynthia Brown and Katelyn VanMourik in 52.51. Pine River also won the 1,600-meter relay in 4:19.23 with Kelsey Blackrick, Erin Koetje and Devyn Powell.

“It was an awesome night for us,” said Pine River coach Dick Dietrick. “We were tied for first in the dual meets. We snuck by McBain for second (Tuesday). I'm happy with that. We beat Beal head-to-head by a point. We had a lot of great races.”

For Evart, Alexis Pylman won the pole vault in 9-8.

“I'm very happy with what I'm doing right now,” Pylman said. “I hope to get 9-10 (at the state meet).”

Tea took the high jump at 5-4 for a new conference meet record.

Grace Hamilton for Evart was second in 12:46.91 in the 3,200-meter run.

“The girls did a great job,” said Evart girls coach Rene Ward. “They broke a lot of records.”

Evart will compete for the boys Saturday in Gobles at the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association meet.