Pine River girls overcome wet conditions to win home invitational

LEROY — It was hardly an ideal day for a track meet, but the Pine River Bucks didn’t mind on Saturday.

The Pine River girls were first and the boys second in a six-team field at the Bucks’ annual home invitational, which was nearly rained out.

School officials got the wet track usable with only four lanes available because of excess water. Conditions improved slightly as the day progressed and the Pine River girls held back Kent City, 137-121. McBain Northern Michigan Christian was third at 97, Hart fourth at 60, followed by Hesperia with 51 and Coleman with 45.

“I knew the girls had it in them and they performed well (Saturday),” said Pine River coach Jan Burch. “We got some personal bests, even with the weather. We just need to thank everybody for all of their cooperation and the adjustments we had to make with running only four lanes and (with) the wet weather.”

But there was never a doubt, in Burch’s mind, that the meet would take place.

“Track athletes are tough,” Burch said. “It takes lightning or blizzards to cancel us. We’ve never canceled.”

Racking up first places for the Pine River girls were Devyn Powell in the long jump (14-3 1/2) and the 100-meter relay (12.98), Mary Ware in the discus (99-10), Pine River in the 800-meter relay (1:53.55) and 400-meter relay in (54.52), and Michelle Kelsey in the 200-meter dash (28.83).

Chipping in second places were Ware in the shot put (30-5 3/4), Anna Lindquist in the pole vault (7-6), Shiloh Ruppert in the 100 hurdles (18.36) and Cheyanna Rizor in the 1,600-meter run (6:09.18).Thirds were turned in by Robyn Peppey in the shot put (27-8 3/4), and Jasmine Blackrick in the long jump (13-4) and 200-meter dash (30.28).

“This is really good for Pine River, only having 18 girls out,” said Rizor. “We did good. (The weather) distracted us some, just getting warmed up so you didn’t pull anything.

“I think I’ve been good in the mile. I’m trying to work harder on the 800 and getting my time down. I need to condition more,” she added.

Kent City won the boys meet with 153 points, followed by Pine River at 117, Hesperia at 76, Coleman at 69, Hart at 57 and McBain NMC at 50.

“It was well-run, and we got all the events in quickly and everybody worked together to make it come together,” Pine River coach Eric Gebhard said. “We were questioning our sanity when we first started it with the lanes being more or less flooded. A lot of community support and help from our teams coming in made it work (Saturday).”

Colten Rawson led the Bucks with a first place in the long jump (19-7 3/4). The Bucks also won the 1,600-meter relay (3:49.01) with the team of Ben Rigling, Colten Rawson, Nick Truax and Robert Dagen.

“It’s hard to get the kids motivated meet after meet for cold, wet weather,” Gebhard said. “But for this year’s team, that doesn’t seem to be an in issue. They take care of the motivation themselves. We had a lot of great performances (Saturday).”

Cole Gingrich was second in the pole vault at 12-0 and 100-meter dash in 11.59 and Rigling second in 2:05.95. The Bucks drew thirds from Adam Langworthy in the shot put (38-1 1/4) and discus (105-3 3/4), Gingrich in the long jump (18-9), Crawford in the 110 hurdles (16.91) and 300 hurdles (48.88), Chris Terburgh in the 1,600 meter (4:55.72) and 3,200-meter runs (11:08.58). and the 400-meter relay team (49.07). 

The regionals, May 16-17, are rapidly approaching.

“I think the weather has affected some of us, just like all the schools,” Rizor said.