Pine River freshman wrestler ends season on high note

LEROY — The wresting season ended for Pine River freshman Justin Cole at the Division 4 regional semifinals in mid-February against Hesperia.

The Bucks lost to the No. 4-ranked Panthers 42-25 but Cole’s performance almost helped the host Pine River team turn it around.

Hesperia got out to a 13-0 lead. Cole got the Bucks back in it with a dramatic pin in 56 seconds at 140 pounds over Kade Witte. Cole came out of nowhere to turn over Witte and put the Bucks on the board.

Hesperia was able to go on with the victory but Cole’s performance definitely made it intriguing for awhile.

“I stuck him on his back,” Cole said. “It was a good win. I was proud of it. I worked hard for it.”

The team season ended at 25-2.

“Coach (Tim Jones) told the team this was good experience for us,” Cole said. “He told us we had a good year and we still have next year.”

Cole didn’t place in individual districts so his freshman season ended in the team match with Hesperia. His record was 15-4. The match against Hesperia was likely No. 1 on the list of most memorable wins.

“It counted the most for the team,” he said.

Cole will be among the talented wrestlers returning next season for the Bucks.

“I think next year we should be able to beat Hesperia,” he said. “They’re losing a lot of good kids and we still have a lot of good kids. It was a little disappointing (to lose to Hesperia), but I still think we had a good year.”

Cole hopes to have a lengthy individual postseason next year.

“I plan on working over the summer and hope to do the best I can next year,” he said.