Reed City, Pine River runners eager for future success

REED CITY — Cross country seasons ended recently for Reed City an Pine River with both coaches taking an optimistic look into the future.

At Reed City, Brad Smith had a full competitive girls team and will be graduating some of his runners. Marie Kinsey, Lindsey Greer, Emily Nardone and Ashley Andres are seniors.

But looking at 2015, Smith is optimistic.

“There are a couple  of girls in middle school that more than likely will run for me,” Smith said. “Hopefully we’ll get some on the boys side.”

Other Coyote girl runners included Joelynn Gamble-Brown, Lindsey Greer, Hana Ondrus, Lindsey Kienitz.

Athletes are allowed to do dual sports, Smith said, as long as both coaches involved agree to it.

Matt McGahey was the top boys runner and is graduating. Trent Willard is a junior and will be returning. Those were the only two boys runners this season.

Besides the potential of middle school runners coming up, “I’ve had others talk to me about it,” Smith said. “All I can hope for is they’ll be back.”

Pine River was competitive on both the boys and girls side.

“It was positive,” Pine River coach Ross Vrieze said. “We set goals to have fun and to improve themselves individually. The boys finished at about 72 percent win-loss record which is up from usual. We won more than we did in the past. We’re in a tough conference. There are a lot of quality teams in the Highland. It’s a tough region that we’re a part of.”

League champs Beal City won both boys and girls state titles.

The boys were ranked eighth and finished fifth in the region.

The girls finished right around where they were ranked in their region, Vrieze added.

State qualifier Ben Rigling plus Tony Moore and Jordan Stone, who were in the top five, plus two others, are graduating. Cheyanna Rizor and Julia Lucas, two of the girls top runners, are graduating.

“The girls should be better number-wise next year because there are a lot of eighth-grade girls coming up,” Vrieze said. “There are two eighth-grade boys I know of from the middle school team. We’re hoping to recruit a few more.”