Pine River boys win home invitational

LEROY  — Wet, muddy and windy conditions made for a challenging venture in Saturday’s Cecil Burch Cross Country Invitational at Pine River.

Pine River boys headed the 13-team field with 86 points, finishing ahead of Manton with 91, Grand Rapids Union at 114 and Frankfort at 115.

Ben Rigling was fifth at 18:42.06 while Derek Hartline was second at 19:16.27. Tony Moore was 12th at 19:31.68, Jordan Stone was 23rd at 19:59.76 and Mark Geer was 37th at 20:38.92.

“It was a little cold and everything,” Hartline said. “I felt like I paced myself really well. I finished in the top 10. I ended up doing good. I don’t really like the wind. It was very wet and muddy. My shoes got filled with mud and water.”

Trent Willard ran for Reed City and was 96th in 28:53.11.

Denver Cade of Buckley was the top boys runner in 17:47.31.

Kinzie Sikkema of Marion won the girls race in 21:35.3. The eight-team girls field was led by Frankfort was 52 points, followed by Manton with 54 and Pine River with 70.

Cheyanna Rizor was fourth for Pine River in 22:11.1.

Olivia Thompson was 19th in 24:05.3, Julia Lucas was 25th in 24:32.2, Holly Bailor was 26th in 24:24.2 and Alyssa Geer was 31st in 24:57.6.

“It was a hard course,” Lucas said. “The weather made it really muddy.”

The Reed City girls did not post an official team score.

Joelynn Gamble-Brown was 10th in 22:56.3, Lindsey Greer was 37th in 25:56.3, McKenzie Cornelius was 51st in 27:24.2 and Devin Willard was 69th in 29:55.3

“It was pretty cold and wet,” Gamble-Brown said. “It was slippery and wet. The mud kind of grabbed onto my shoes.”

Her best time has been 22:09.

“It’s gone pretty well,” Gamble-Brown said. “My last year (fastest) time was 23:53. Our team has grown since last year.”

“Everyone ran slow because of the muddy conditions,” Reed City coach Brad Smith said. “It was a miserable day for running. Everyone did what they could do under these conditions.”

“I was happy, especially with my girls,” Ross Vrieze, Pine River coach, said. “No. 3, 4 and 5 moved up in the ranks (Saturday). They’re running tighter as a pack which is good to see. For the cold and wet conditions, I think their times were pretty decent.”

For the boys, “we finished strong in the top four and there’s a big gap between our No. 4 and 5 runner that we’re trying to work on,” Vrieze said. “We had our eyes set on Manton as our big competition (Saturday).”

Reed City runs at the Manistee Invitational on Thursday. Pine River will host a Highland Conference jamboree Oct. 14.