Pine River track teams expect to score a lot points this season

Team: Shot putter Mary Ware is expected to be among Pine River’s top-point producers this season. (File photo)
Team: Shot putter Mary Ware is expected to be among Pine River’s top-point producers this season. (File photo)

LEROY —  Eric Gebhard is coaching both Pine River boys and girls track teams this season and is expecting to have talent on both squads.

Thursday, Pine River will send the JV squad to McBain and the varsity team will be at the Cadillac Invitational on Friday.

For the boys, senior Ben Rigling will be strong in the middle distances with the 400 and 800 meter runs, along with the relays. Senior Cole Gingrich will be the top sprinter for the Bucks and a potential state qualifier. Senior Colton Rosson will be strong in all the field events, the long jump and pole vault especially, and will be a key contributor in the middle distances.

Gebhard has 33 performers on his team.

“We’re top heavy with the boys, just the opposite with the girls,” Gebhard said. “I think the boys have 13 seniors. We have a solid group there.”

The Pine River coach expects to do well in the middle distances and relays. 

“Our field events, we’ll have someone who can do well in each of those to make a big difference,” Gebhard said.

The Bucks hope to compete against Highland Conference powers like Evart.

“It depends on what type of returnees you get from the other schools,” Gebhard said. “Every year, it seems like there are two or three teams that can win it. It never seems to be outright. We’re hoping to finish strong.”

The Pine River girls team has 28 athletes. Top point getters includes throwers Robyn Peppey and Mary Ware. Both seniors should provide a lot of points for the Bucks, Gebhard indicated.

Junior Lauren Stephens will be strong in the 400 and 200 for the Bucks. Junior Shiloh Ruppert is the Bucks’ leading hurdler and 200-meter sprinter. Senior Cheyanna Rizor returns in the 800, 3,200 and other distance events.

“What will really make the girls strong that we have this year are the new freshmen coming in,” Gebhard said. “There’s a lot of great raw talent there along with great attitudes. They’ll hopefully fit into our relays and show us great stuff.”

The middle distances should also be strong for the girls along with other events like the throws.

In the Highland, “Beal City every year has a bunch of great athletes,” Gebhard said. “You know they’ll be a hard team to beat. I’m excited about our strength this year.”