Pine River pole vaulter off to fast start

LEROY — Pine River’s boys track team seems to have the talent to make plenty of noise in the Highland Conference this season.

With talented athletes like senior Abel Langworthy and junior Eugene Sturdavant, the Bucks have been getting the job done.

Last season, Langworthy, a pole vaulter, made it to the state finals and set a personal best of 13 feet. He’s looking for 14 feet this season to break his school record of 13-8 ¼. He went 13-3 at the Scottville Invitational last Friday.

Langworthy is also in other sports including wrestling, where he was a state qualifier.

“I’ve been able to focus on it a lot,” said Langworthy, who got in some bonus time outdoors in late March when the weather was in the 70s. “That will be a tremendous help to get better through the wind and other weather.”

He’s been pole vaulting since eighth grade and has improved each season. Langworthy is also in the 400-meter and 800-meter relays.

“Those events are looking pretty good,” he said.

But of all his sports and various events, “the pole vault would definitely probably be the most challenging,” Langworthy said. “It takes even more technique than wrestling.”

Sturdavant is in the shot put and discus for the Bucks. He’s been in those events since the seventh grade.

“My goal was 100 at the end of the year as a sophomore and I got a 99-10,” Sturdavant said of his all-time high in the discus. “I’m hoping between a 115 and 120. I have to get my footwork down and land in the right place. That should get me in.”

The discus is his best event.

“My goal for shot put is 38 feet,” he said. “Traditionally, I get better (in the discus).”

The weather has been cold lately but in late March, Sturdavant and his teammates were able to throw outside more often. It’s been a tremendous help, he indicated.

“I’m much farther (ahead),” he said. “If I get to my goal of 120, I could get top five in regionals,” he said. “My goal for my senior year is to get to state.”

This coming Saturday, the Bucks will be able to showcase their talents in their home invitational.

“The team is going to be pretty good,” Langworthy said. “I feel we have a chance to be conference champs.”

“I think we’ll have one of the best throwing teams in the conference,” Sturdavant said. “We have three or four guys hitting over 40 (in the shot put) and three guys hitting 115 and 120 in the discus. We’ll get a bunch of points in the throws.”