Pine River girls third,Reed City sixth at Saturday invitatiomal

LEROY — A cold hard blowing wind made it perhaps the most challenging day so far this season for runners Saturday at the Cecil Burch Cross Country Invitational.

Pine River was third and Reed City sixth in a girls race that scored only six teams. For Pine River, Olivia Thompson was 11th (23:26.33), Kelsi Charles 13th (23:39.22), Rachel DePew 27th (25:49.90), Alexis Beebe 31st (27:05.19), Alyssa Geer 41st (28:05.52), Gretchen Geer 51st (30:13.69) and Summer Jackson 53rd (30:31.62).

“We did pretty good overall as a team,” Charles said. “I didn’t like (the weather). It was too cold. (The wind) was at my back a lot. I was happy, (considering) the weather.”

“The girls, from what I could tell, did OK,” Pine River coach Ross Vrieze said. “We were missing our No. 3 girl (Holly Bailor) who is on crutches with a sprained ankle. Alyssa Geer stepped up and filled the No. 5 place. Rachel DePew did really well filling the No. 3 position.”

Reed City was led by Joelynn Gamble-Brown, who was 22nd (24:49.13), Hana Ondrus 37th (27:56.13), Catherine Kettner 39th (27:57.48), McKenzie Cornelius 43rd (28:21.32), Hailey Duchene 47th (28:55.30) and Devin Willard 54th (30:34.64).

“The wind was a really big factor in my running,” Gamble-Brown said. “It slowed us down. The course was better than last year. It was pretty dry.”

Reed City had one runner in the boys race with Brandon Wirth placing 20th (20:23.9).

“Despite the conditions, I think they did pretty well,” Reed City coach Brad Smith said. “The wind was nasty and cold. They weren’t used to that. I was pretty happy the way they ran.”

The Pine River boys were fourth among nine full teams. Derek Hartline was eighth (19:07.8), Mark Geer 10th (19:54.93), Ira Waters 35th (21:39.62), Sam Pentces 44th (22:06.01), Robbie Steele 45th (22:08.20), Wade Fullerton 76th (24:40.72) and Dominick Cousino 81st (28:34).

“With October coming, the temperature changes on us,” Vrieze said. “Some kids run better in the cold and aren’t worried about overheating.”

“It was super cold out and the wind was (tough),” Hartline said. “You really had to push your endurance through it and stay warm. At the start of the race (the wind) was mostly in our face. Once we got toward the back loop, it was nice and easy.

“It wasn’t the best day to run, but I went out and did it. I felt like I had a good place, but not the best time.”

“The boys look good,” Vrieze said. “My top two were in the top 10, so that was exciting to see. My fourth and fifth runner were in the mid 40s.”

Reed City is at Manistee on Thursday.