The top two individuals and one relay team qualified for the State meet on Wednesday, May 29 during the Section 5A track meet at St. John’s University.
“I am so proud of our team,” said coach Jared Clementson. “It was a beautiful day for everyone to compete. I enjoyed watching many great performances and witnessing great sportsmanship from our team throughout the day.”
The Dragon boys team took 9th place out of 24+ teams with 34 points. Pierz won with 98 points.
Nine of the 11 competing boys scored points in the meet. Logan Vinaja was the top point getter with 15 points.
Logan Vinaja qualified for the State meet by winning the 800m run in thrilling fashion. Vinaja ran a personal best time of 1:59.88 seconds, just edging out Leo Duffy from Rockford at the finish line. Vinaja got out to a great start and run with/behind Caleb Weaver from Mora for the first 500m. With 300m to go, Vinaja started to pass Weaver to go into second. With 200m to go, Vinaja was about 20 meters behind first; however, he kicked hard to come from behind to take the victory.
This will be Vinaja’s first trip to the State meet. He is going into prelims with the twelfth fastest time. Vinaja is one of seven boys who are within a second of each other. The top nine will advance from Friday’s prelim to Saturday’s final.
The boys 4x400m relay of Tryston West, Caleb Fromm, Tommy Ryan and Logan Vinaja qualified for State by winning in a time of 3:30.79. This time is the second fastest in school history. Tryston West had a great start, splitting a 52.4. Caleb Fromm got the baton and was in the lead after the cutline. He continued to maintain the lead and split a 53.3. Tommy Ryan ran well and added to the lead, splitting a 52.5. Logan Vinaja anchored the team to victory holding off a charging Milaca team with a split of 52.5.
“It was very cool to watch them lead from start to finish. This was a great team effort and was very impressive as they dropped seven seconds from their Sub-Section time,” said coach Clementson.
The relay is coming into prelims with the eighth fastest time. The top nine will advance from Friday’s prelim to Saturday’s final. Pine City is one of four teams within 0.04 seconds of each other.
Tommy Ryan ran a personal best time in the 1600m run by five seconds to place third in a time of 4:36.18. This performance puts him seventh on the top ten list.
TJ Rank placed sixth in the 300m hurdles with a season’s best time of 43.22. This performance puts him fifth on the top ten list.
JJ Preston placed sixth in the discus with a toss of 128’ 10”.
The 4x200m relay team of Kenny Vo, Caleb Fromm, Hunter Peacock and Michael Gerold placed seventh in a season’s best time of 1:39.20.
Tryston West placed 10th in the 400m dash with a personal best time of 53.65.
Tucker Dalen placed 11th in the high jump (4’ 7”), 13th in both the long jump (18’ 7.75”) and triple jump (38’ 0.75”), and placed 15th in the 300m hurdles (48.20).
Dawson Clifford tied for 13th in the pole vault (10’ 3”), placed 14th in the triple jump (37’ 8.75”), and placed 15th in the long jump (18’ 5.5”).
Tommy Ryan placed 14th in the 800m (2:13.12).
The Dragon girls team tied for 17th place out of 25+ teams with 13 points. Rockford won with 121 points.
Seven girls scored throughout the meet. Alaina Steele was Pine City’s top point getter with 10.5 points.
Alaina Steele qualified for the State Meet in the 800m run by winning the race in a time of 2:20.78. Alaina ran one of the gutsiest races of her career as she took the lead with 500m to go and never looked back. Steele started off strong and put herself in second place after the 100m cut line. She was then passed before the 200m mark; however, after she rounded the corner she passed the two girls in front of her and started to pull away. She came through the first lap in 67 seconds and continued to pull away from the competition. Bethany TenHacken from Milaca tried to challenge from behind in the last 100m, but Steele held her off for the win.
“It was so exciting to see Alaina get a Section win on her third time making it to State in the event,” said coach Clementson.
Steele is going into the State meet tied with the fifth fastest time. The top nine will advance from Friday’s prelim to Saturday’s final. Steele placed ninth at State as an eighth grader and fifth last year as a sophomore.
Arissa Rydberg placed eighth in the 1600m with a personal best time of 5:44.24. This performance puts her 10th on the top ten list.
The girls 4x800m relay team of Lydia Adams, Sophie Lahti, Grace Grubbs and Ella Sell placed eighth with a time of 10:56.75.
The girls 4x400m relay team of Summer Thieman, Sophie Lahti, Lydia Adams and Alaina Steele placed eighth with a time of 4:24.77.
Eva Johnson placed ninth in the 3200m with a personal best time of 12:31.37. This performance puts her fifth on the top ten list. Arissa Rydberg placed 11th with a time of 12:50.42.
Kelsey Erickson placed 10th in the long jump (15’ 2.75”) and 13th in the triple jump (30’ 1.25”).
Emily Carpenter (28.26) and Ainsley Vinaja (28.47) placed 11th and 12th respectively in the 200m dash.
Cara Kuhn placed 12th in the shot put (30’ 2.5”).
Sophie Lahti placed 15th in high jump (4’ 6”).
Emma Schmidt placed 16th in the discus (77’ 9”).
Unfortunately, Ellaina Johnson didn’t run the 100m dash due to an injury.
The State meet will be held at Hamline University on Friday and Saturday, June 7-8. Steele will compete at 5:45 p.m on Friday and 6:19 p.m. on Saturday if she qualifies for the final. Vinaja will compete at 5:53 p.m. on Friday and 6:28 p.m. on Saturday if he qualifies for the final. The boys 4x400m relay will run at 7:10 p.m. on Friday and at 7:07 p.m. on Saturday if they qualify for the final.