Pine River wrestling back in state quarterfinals
LEROY – With a veteran group at the upper weights leading the charge, the Pine River wrestling program is back at the Division 4 state finals this weekend for the straight year.
Making their third state quarterfinals appearance since 2008, the seventh-seeded Bucks (25-4) will face second-seeded Decatur (27-3) at Central Michigan’s McGuirk Arena at noon on Friday.
Pine River secured its sixth straight district title two weeks ago with wins over Highland Conference foes Evart and Manton, then upended Farwell and Charlevoix last Wednesday in regional action.
One of three Pine River wrestlers ranked individually in the state, senior 119-pounder Nathan Park says last year’s 34-33 loss on criteria to Manchester in the quarterfinals has played a motivating factor for the Bucks this season.
"It was a great experience, but a little disappointing on how we went out through criteria,” Park said. “But I think it’s going to help all of us that were here last year."
"We used it not as like a look at the negative, but look how far we made it,” added senior 189-punder Josh Jackson. “As a senior captain, I’ve used it as a reminder. Most of them know what it felt like, and I’m like, ‘Remember that feeling. Let’s reproduce it.’”