Pine River runner reflects on strong junior season

LEROY — Sam Pentces recently capped Pine River’s cross country season as its No. 2 runner.

He’s a junior and ran his fourth year of cross country.

The biggest challenge he had during the season was at the home Pine River Invitational when he and other runners had to endure wet course conditions.

“The weather you can adapt to after awhile,” Pentces said. “The course, it’s the mud that’s the problem. If you can avoid the mud, you can avoid slipping and falling.”

His best time was 20:40.9 at the Manistee National Invitational and also was a personal record.

“I’d like to get a 20:30,” he said midway during the season. “It’s going to take a lot of effort to do that. It’s effort and willpower. People say running is 90 percent mental. It kind of is.”

A boost to Pentces and his team was having more runners.

“The more people we have on the team, the better we do,” he said. “We encourage each other to do better. It’s a big help overall. When the year started off, there were some races when I was running on my own with no one else.”

Pentces also runs track.

“If I had to pick between the two, I’d say track,” he said. “If I didn’t do cross, I wouldn’t have the encouragement to push myself as hard as I do in track.”