LEROY – Logan Churchill is among the reasons Pine River’s boys cross country team is off to a strong start.

It’s his senior season and second of cross country. He made his debut as a junior.

“I loved it,” he said. “I enjoyed being with the team and hanging out with people. The regional meet was really fun, setting a PR there. I loved it.”

His personal record was 19 minutes, seven seconds. His goal is to break 17 minutes this year. His teammates all hope to break into the 16s.

“It takes a lot of team effort and a good calculated race overall, giving it all you’ve got,” he said.

Churchill also runs track but wasn’t able to have a spring season because of COVID. But to make up for it, he got in plenty of offseason running.

“I put in about 50 to 60 hours a week and we put some speed work in this summer,” Churchill said. “That’s all I’ve been doing. I’m looking to getting anything under 17.

“Usually I get out pretty quick and get caught by some of my teammates later on. The second mile tends to be a little slower. Then I give it all I have the last mile.”

He got a PR the first meet of the season with a 17:33.5 at the Pete Moss Benzie Central Invitational.

Churchill favors cross compared to track “definitely because of the environment of it. I feel like everyone is a bit closer (in cross country). In track, everything is separated with different events. In cross, everyone is doing the same thing.”

Churchill likes the team’s chances in the Highland Conference.

“We’re in the top three,” he said. “Honestly, at our peak form, I think we’re a state qualifying team.”

As senior, “I hope to be a leader and teach them work ethic, technique and help everybody out.”