Pine River wrestlers enjoyed strong season

Elijah Carper



LEROY - Another banner season ended for Pine River's wrestling program with talented state qualifiers such as Elijah Carper and Phil Rigling playing a key role in the team's stunning success.

Carper was a senior and in his fourth year of varsity wrestling with an 24-8 record. It was his best and his first year of qualifying for the state tournament, a long-time goal.

"I gave it 110 percent," he said. "My favorite match was at regionals when I lost in the first-and-second-place match. My favorite win was wrestling a kid from Benzie Central. My defense works really well and I have a good slide-by."

Carper said he worked on his shooting to get better all season.

"It was an OK year for the team but we could have done better," he said. "We had a few misplaces here and there."

The season was delayed from Nov. 16 to Feb. 8 because of COVID.

"It was amazing to have a season," Carper said. "The delay made me a little upset. I'm happy with the season."

Carper said he's played football since he was little and also plays baseball.

Phil Rigling is a junior in his third year of wrestling. He was 24-6.

Placing at regionals and beating a wrestler he lost to earlier this year to qualify for the state meet was a highlight.

Rigling agreed the delays were tough.

"I try to tire people out on the mat," he said. "I've been trying to get takedowns."

Winning a district title was a major highlight. The Bucks didn't win a district last year.

Rigling also runs cross country and track. He indicated cross country would be his favorite sport. Each sport keeps him in shape for the other sport.