Pine River runners off to a good start

LEROY -- Pine River’s cross country teams are off to a strong start which has coach Ross Vrieze feeling optimistic over the Bucks’ 2012 prospects.

The Pine River boys were fourth in the White Division at the Pete Moss invitational on Saturday.

Trevor Holmes finished seventh overall with a 17:13.8, while Ben Rigling placed 19th with a time of 18:20.7. Greg Schaefer finished 20th with a 18:23.6 while Elliot VanDrummel was 41st in 19:28, Nick Woodman 63rd in 20:18.1, Joshua Phillips was 64th in 20:19.1 and Derek Hartline 84th 21:00.5.

The Pine River girls team finished 13th in the White Division. For the Bucks, Devyn Powell was 17th in 21:32.7, Rachel Hartline 78th in 24:53, Alyssa Geer was 82nd in 24:57.7, and Erica Loop 84th in 25:04.

On Aug. 21, Pine River ran at the Chippewa Hills Invitational. Pine River was fourth in the boys division. Holmes was third in 17:49, Schafer 12th in 19:06, Ben Riglig 14th in 19:26, VanDrummel 25th in 20:44 and George Ronan 30th in 21:06.

The girls took fifth. Powell was 11th in 22:42, Jasmine Blackrick 26th in 26:32, Julia Lucas 27th in 26:40 and Geer 28th in 26:54.

“I as pretty happy being the first race,” Vrieze said after the Chippewa Hills Invite. “The kids showed what they could do; those that ran all summer did spectacular. We have some injuries we have to overcome, a couple on the boys and a couple on the girls.

“It was a good start. The goal from here is to improve their times at Benzie which they should because it’s a flatter course.”

Vrieze expects his top boys runners to be Holmes, Riglig and Schafer, plus Woodman.

Powell leads the way for the girls in her junior season along with Blackrick and Zee Moored.

“Our hope is to finish in the top three in the Highland Conference,” Vrieze said. “For the boys, Evart is going to be good and Beal City is looking good. Beal’s girls will continue to do well. Manton will put up a good showing, boys and girls. McBain is always good.”