LEROY — Ben Rigling will be counted upon heavily to score points for the Pine River boys track team this season and the Bucks’ junior hopes to deliver.

Rigling is in his fifth season of track and third in high school. He was a member of the 4x8 team that placed ninth in the state. This season, he hopes to qualify for the open 800 at the state finals.

Finishing the last lap has usually been his strength.

“I have a pretty strong kick,” he said.

At the Central Michigan Relays indoors recently, Rigling was second in the 800 meters in 2:12.10.

The 1,600-meter run is probably his second best event and he’s hoping for a 4:20 this season.

Rigling is optimistic of his team’s prospects in the distances.

“We have a small team,” he said. “I think we’ll do all right.”

Evart is expected to be strong in the distances again this season. The Bucks and Wildcats have been enjoying a strong rivalry in the distances, Rigling noted.

The weather hasn’t been good for spring sports practice, although Rigling pointed out that distance runners can still work through it. But he has high hopes for a strong finish to the season.

The first outdoor meet was set for this Tuesday at Coleman. The first home meet is April 14 with Harrison and Farwell.

The Bucks were conference champs two seasons ago.

“We’re not going to be as good as that,” Rigling said. “We have a smaller team than usual. Our distances look like they’ll be pretty good.”

Rigling also ran cross country.

“I like track better,” he said. “I’m just better at the (shorter) distances.”