Pine River Heads to Kalamazoo Seeking First Title
LEROY – For the fourth straight year, the Pine River wrestling program finds itself in the Division 4 team state quarterfinals.
Winners of the Mid-Michigan Wrestling Conference and four consecutive regional championships, the fifth-seeded Bucks (29-6) will take on four-seed Mendon (30-1) Friday at Kalamazoo’s Wings Event Center.
Pine River advanced to the state’s biggest stage with wins over Manton (55-15), Forest Area (72-3), Mancelona (69-10) and Oscoda (62-17).
“With us coming in, we’ve been pretty good,” Pine River senior 112-pounder Dylan Stephens said. “We’ve got to try to do better than we did last year and just keep trying to improve.”
“For the seniors, being there for four years, it kind of gets the jitters out of you because, you know, you’ve been there four years in a row,” added senior 130-pounder Jacob Roberts. “You just kind of see what’s already there.”
Winners of the 1991 Class D state championship, Friday’s quarterfinal appearance is the first for the Hornets since back-to-back trips in 1990 and 1991.
Mendon picked up wins over White Pigeon (47-15), Colon (72-6), Bronson (54-21) and Lawton (47-21) en route to Kalamazoo.
“The pressure and the experience that we’ve been down there four years in a row,” senior 140-pounder Andrew Park said. “I think it’s really going to help us because when you start looking at the lights and stuff, it’s a big deal.”
Pine River and Mendon will square off at noon Friday.