Pine River track coach reflects on challenging season
LEROY — Track season has been over for a few weeks but Pine River boys coach Eric Gebhard has to admit he has plenty to smile about as he looks back at the season.
“At the end of the season, the number of kids we took to the state was a reflection how we weren’t a team of great individual athletes but a good overall group,” Gebhard said.
“It was nice taking kids down to state. In the conference, we took third, but finished behind a couple of strong teams in Evart and Lake City. We gave them a run for their money. The conference was a good accomplishment for this team.
“The Bucks will have some key losses with the likes of Dustin Ecker, a hurdler, who qualified for the state meet.”
“It will be a big loss for us in that area. Ethan Whitley, in the middle distances, was our go to guy in the 800 and 400 when we need him Trevor Holmes, 800 to two mile, was our go to guy. Those will be the three we really miss.”
Key returner including Ben Rigling who returns as a junior and will bid to break the school record in the 800 and also be productive in the mile.”
Ethan Crawford will return as a senior in the hurdles and will bid to fill Ecker’s shoes. Adam Langworthy was out this season with a knee injury but returns as a senior in the throws.
“He’ll give us a big boost in that area that we’re missing this year,” Gebhard said. “I have a pair of juniors coming back in Cole Gingrich and Colton Rawson, who are both pole vaulters and will push into the 13s as juniors. They give us a a good one-two punch in a lot of our invitationals and conference meets.”
The Wildcats were led by Max Hodges, the 800-meter state champion, plus Logan Hammer and David Zinger in the distances and relays.
Rick Miller in the pole vault, also produced points for Evart which was first in the MITCA state meet and third in the MHSAA meet. Coach Dennis Peacock said several strong athletes are leaving but several strong ones return and the Wildcats could do well again in state competition.