Thursday, Aug. 29 was a beautiful day to run, as the Dragon cross-country teams traveled to participate in the Princeton Invitational. There was some really good competition to run against. Being the first meet of the season, it sets the benchmark for where everyone is starting. The goal is to have everyone show large improvement from now until the end of the season.
The Pine City girls team didn’t have enough runners to score, with only four varsity runners. Alaina Steele ran a solid race and was the Dragon girls top finisher, placing 7th in a time of 21:18.
“I feel this is a good starting point from her, as she will continue to improve throughout the season,” said coach Jared Clementson.
Eva Johnson also had a great race, placing 13th with a time of 21:56. Arissa Rydberg (23:54) finished her first varsity race and placed 43rd. Rydberg had a cold going into the race, but will show great improvements in the early season. Grace Grubbs (25:00) placed 60th.
The Pine City boys team placed eighth out of 11 complete teams with a total of 200 points. Elk River won with 47 points with Heritage Christian Academy coming in second with 60 points.
Nate Webster had a great race and placed 11th in a time of 18:09. Noah Miller (19:47) and Casey Knutson (19:48) battled it out to the finish, placing 43rd and 44th respectively. Charlie Emmons (19:58) placed 50th and freshman Caleb Cunnien (20:25) placed 62nd, rounding out the Dragon scorers. Both Knutson and Cunnien ran personal best times and Emmons finished his first race since 2017. Drake Willert (20:49) and Koleman Lind (20:58) earned the last two varsity spots for Pine City’s next meet, placing 70th and 74th.
The Dragons’ next meet is at the Pine City Country Club on Thursday, Sept. 5. The junior high races start at 4 p.m. with the first varsity race starting at 4:30 p.m.