Pine River wrestling team opens at Tri County

LEROY — Pine River’s wresting team is coming off a regional championship season but the Bucks may be a younger squad than compared to past years.

The Bucks started practices on Nov. 16 and the season debut is Saturday at the Tri County Invitational.

The Bucks will be hosting Reed City on Dec. 16.

“We graduated a lot from last year and we’ve had some injuries from football,” Bucks coach Tim Jones said. “We have Nathan (130) and Andrew Park (125) who are both returning as state qualifiers.”

Nathan is a senior and Andrew is a sophomore.

Two other state qualifiers who are returning are senior Josh Jackson (215) and junior Tucker Fansler (135).

Also back are juniors Joe Rigling (160) and Raden Holmes (171).

“We’re very young in the middle and young on the bottom,” Jones said. “We’ll see how we start at the beginning of the season, hopefully solidify things by the middle of the year and try to make a run.”

Pine River has 30 wrestlers on the roster.

“We have some new boys to fill in places,” Jones said. “We’re really thin in the middle. We have more than enough in the middle range. But if we have an injury, we’ll have a hard time filling those weights.”

The Bucks are in the Mid-Michigan Wrestling Conference.

“Our first test will be at Tri County,” Jones said. “Tri County was good last year. They return a lot of people. We’ll see Sparta there. Comstock Park is tough. That’s a good meet for us. The following weekend at Marquette, we’ll see some of the top teams in the state. The first two weeks are pretty good for us.”