Sports news in brief

Bucks ready to defend title

LEROY – The Pine River Bucks start this Wednesday at home against Hart and Montabella.

“We’ve got a good group of kids,” said veteran coach Tim Jones.

Last season, the Bucks had Kyle Nixon placing seventh at 125 pounds in the state Division 4 finals and finishing with a 47-6 overall record. He was 3-2 at the state finals.

Also back is Cason Rawson who was 1-2 at the state finals at 152 and finished with a 37-15 record. Larry Kissinger (145), Justin Seeman (152) and Maverick Martin (160) also return. Nixon and Rawson were state qualifiers last season while Kissinger did the trick in 2011.

Abel Langworthy, who was sixth at 130 pounds and finished with a 45-6 record, has graduated.

Pine River will be strong at the middle weights, Jones said.

Jones said his wrestlers are making progress with their conditioning.

“We need to see where we’re at for the start of the season,” Jones said.

He currently has 36 wrestlers on the roster.

“We have some returning young kids that were brand new at the lightweights,” Jones said. “Our heavyweight last year is lighter. I don’t know if he’ll be at heavy or lighter.”

The Bucks compete in the mid-Michigan Wrestling Conference and are defending champions.

“We’re probably one of the contenders,” Jones said. “Manistee will be another one that could do well, Benzie maybe.”

Last Saturday, the Bucks hosted a scrimmage to get ready for the regular season. Lake City, Manton, Roscommon, Houghton Lake and Grayling were among the teams participating. Athletes wrestled with various opponents on an individual basis.

“We decided to try it this year and it seemed to work out well,” Jones said.

The Bucks seem to have most of their 14 spots filled.

“We’ll be better than average to start and we’ll see how it ends up,” Jones said. “We have a couple of kids out with injuries.”

Reed City qualifiers ready to hit mat 

REED CITY -- The official opening of the Reed City wrestling season is this week and Coyote wrestlers like Adam Kehr and Matt MaGahey are ready to go.

Kehr is a junior in his fifth year of organized wrestling and third year of high school. Last season, Kehr made it to the state finals but did not place.

“I wasn’t a .500 wrestler my freshman year and last year I was way above .500,” Kehr said. “I got a little better on my feet. I wasn’t great but I was all right and able to take people down. I feel like I’ve improved a lot. I wrestled in a couple of tournaments over the summer.  I’m a lot stronger than I was last year.”

Kehr was at 135 last year and is 145 and 152 this season. ‘I’ll be stronger there,” Kehr said. “Last year, I was cutting so much weight. This year, I’m not cutting as much.”

On the mat, Kehr is strong at the bottom and wants to work on his neutral position.

“We’re going to be young, but I think we’ll have an overall good team,” McGahey said.

McGahey, a sophomore, is at 119 this year. Last year as a freshman, he went to the state finals. He exceeded his expectations.

“I didn’t expect to go that far,” he said. “It was a matter of practicing hard.”

McGahey and Kehr wrestled over the summer. McGahey also ran cross country during the fall.

“I want to medal at state this year and get the conference title,” he said, referring to the Central State Activities Association. “I plan at staying at 119 all year. I need to work hard.”

McGahey said he likes the neutral position and is also strong at takedowns. He’s working on standups and getting out from the bottom.

Reed City wrestles Wednesday at Greenville.