LEROY -- The cross country season is still young but Pine River runners are establishing themselves in an impressive way.

Devyn Powell and Ben Rigling are among the top runners leading the way for the Bucks this season.

Powell, a state champ in the 400-meter run at the Division 3 state track finals, is back for her junior season in cross country.

“Last year, my goal was to get into the 19s and I hit a 20 flat,” Powell said. “That means I’m almost 100 percent sure I’ll be able to get into the 19s by the end of this year.”

Powell, who also plays basketball and runs track, said she did a certain amount of running this season.

“I’m told it’d be wise to take time off because I get injured so quick,” Powell said. “So I was told to let my legs try to heal more than I normally do.”

After two meets, Powell was encouraged.

“I need to get back into shape,” she said, adding that she hopes to be at 100 percent by mid-September. As a freshman, Powell went to the state finals.

“Last year, everyone must have gotten faster in my division because I didn’t get to go,” she said. “That’s a goal, to get back to state. It was disappointing but I couldn’t do much. My time was a minute better. My time was where I wanted it.”

The team “looks really good,” Powell said. “I’m really impressed. We have a lot of dedication this year. We have big numbers compared to what we normally do.”

Rigling is a sophomore who has been running cross four years and is in his second high school season.

His first varsity season as a freshman, “was harder than middle school,” Rigling said.

It took him three or four meets to get set for the longer distance-race in high school. He figures he ran about 100 miles during the summer to get ready for this season.

In spring track, Rigling ran the 800 and 1,600 and was happy with his freshman season. He ran a 2:16 in the 800. Rigling said he enjoys track more, especially with the option of being able to run various distances.

He clocked an 18:20 which has already beaten his PR from a year ago. He hopes to have a 17:30 this season. He’s looking to improve on his second mile.

Evart’s among the tough teams the Bucks will see on their schedule, Rigling indicated.