The Dragons hosted the Pine City Invitational on Thursday, Sept. 5. There were a total of 14 teams at the meet. The weather was mild and overcast for the meet and the course was in great condition. Most of the Dragons improved from their first meet in Princeton.

With a few girls out with injuries, Pine City didn’t have enough runners to score as a team. This will likely be the case for the next few weeks. Spectrum’s girls came away with the win with a score of 50 points. Chisago Lakes was second with 64 points.

“It is unfortunate, but we want them to be healthy before putting them into a race again,” said coach Jared Clementson. “Our main focus is being ready for the end of the season when it really matters.”

Senior Alaina Steele ran a great race, placing third with a new Pine City Invite school record time of 20:37. She broke her previous record, from 2017, of 20:56 by 19 seconds. Steele finished 33 seconds behind Molly Novotny from Spectrum who won in a 20:04. Dragon eighth grader Eva Johnson also ran very well and placed eighth with a very good time of 21:38. Arissa Rydberg, another eighth grader, improved her time by 47 seconds and placed 22nd with a time of 23:07. Rydberg is off to a great start and will only continue to improve as she gets used to the cross-country style racing.

In the junior high race, Emma Belsheim placed third in a 2000m time of 8:54. She has been a great addition to the team and shows great promise to help the varsity team by the end of the season. The Pine City JH girls placed second in the meet.

The Pine City boys team placed fifth out of 10 complete teams with a total of 121 points. Spectrum’s boys won with a score of 54 points and Foley’s boys were second with 74 points. Conference foe Rush City placed fourth with 115 points.

Senior Nate Webster ran a very solid race and placed third with a time of 18:10. Senior Noah Miller also had a solid race and finished 20th in 19:32. Junior Charlie Emmons continues to improve and placed 27th in a time of 19:42. Sophomore Casey Knutson came in 36th with a time of 20:11. Senior Koleman Lind improved by 36 seconds to place 42nd in a time of 20:22. Freshman Caleb Cunnien (20:52) placed 50th while Drake Willert dropped out from pain in his lower leg.

Freshman Damion Torgerson earned a spot on the Dragon Varsity team next week for the first time after placing fifth in the JV race with a personal best time of 21:19.

Both Pine City Junior High and Junior Varsity Boys teams placed second at this competition. The Dragons will be competing at the Pierz Stampede on Monday, Sept. 16.

A free 4-6th grade youth XC club was started this year through Community Ed. Practices are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. It is off to a great start with a total of 23 kids participating. Pine City also added an elementary race to their home meet and had 31 kids participate. They will also be racing at other local meets in Mora, Hinckley-Finlayson and again in Pine City.

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