As always, the Pine City Cross-Country coaches are excited to get back to working with the Dragons. It is very rewarding to work with student athletes who are hardworking and goal oriented.
This season the Dragons have about 30 boy runners and a young girls team of about 11 runners.
“We are only returning one of our top five boys from last year, but we have a good group of boys ready to fill those varsity spots,” said coach Jared Clementson. “On the girls side, we are only returning four varsity runners, but they are all quality runners. Half of our entire team is made of 7-8th graders, which is good for building a bigger team in the future.”
Senior Nate Webster placed fourth at the Great River Conference (GRC) and was not far off a State qualifying run. Webster, along with seniors Noah Miller, Koleman Lind and Josh Rike will be looked to for pushing themselves, and their teammates, for improvements throughout the season.
On the girls side, senior Alaina Steele will continue to be a leader and stand above the rest. Last year she smashed the Pine City girls school record she previously set in 2017 and was the GRC champion for the second straight year. She also qualified for State last year where she placed a very solid 35th. Eighth grader Eva Johnson and senior Grace Grubbs placed second and eighth in the Conference last season and will be looking to be running up with Alaina, toward the top, again this year.
The Pine City Boys Cross-Country team has won the GRC for the past six years and are setting themselves to push for another championship season. Pine City doesn’t have a large girls team; however, they have many quality runners that will attempt to regain the GRC title that was lost last year for the first time in nine years.
Coach Clementson is known for his coaching abilities as well as his genuine concern of being a great mentor for the student athletes.
“Another goal of mine is to teach these student-athletes to be kind, helpful, healthy, motivated and goal-oriented people throughout their lives,” said coach Clementson. “We encourage all kids to give cross-country a try. Whether you are among the fastest in the state or can only run for short distances, you will have a great experience and learn a lot about yourself and how to work to improve.
“Everyone has the ability to better themselves throughout the season and celebrate with others when those personal victories happen.”