The Dragon cross country squads had a week of hard running on the road as they headed to the Hinckley-Finlayson Invitational on Tuesday, Oct. 5 and the Duluth East Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 9.

Hinckley-Finlayson Invitational

The meet was held at the Grand National Golf Course in Hinckley. 

“It was sunny and warmer than expected. The times for all teams ended up being slower than normal, but our kids did well and placed high as a team,” said Coach Jared Clementson.

GIRLS: The Dragon girls team placed second out of eight complete teams with a score of 74 points. The Hinckley-Finlayson girls won with a score of 51 points.

Clementson noted that Eva Johnson was again the Dragons’ top finisher and placed fourth with a time of 21:54. Emma Belsheim (22:45) and Rachel Brown (22:58) finished strong placing 10th and 13th respectively. Paige Gray placed 24th in a time of 24:35. Peyton Perreault finished in a time of 25:03 good for 31st place. Sophia Olson ran well and placed 36th in a time of 25:49.

Gracie Larson, who is usually the team’s fourth runner, dropped out of the race as a precaution to not further hurt her knee.

The seventh grade girls placed second in the JH race.

BOYS: The boys team placed third out of seven complete teams with a total of 72 points. Cambridge-Isanti won with a score of 31 points and Mora was 3 points ahead of us with 69 points.

Charlie Ausmus finished four seconds behind the winner and placed 2nd in a time of 17:41. Eli Fromm placed 13th in a time of 19:24. Roman McKinney ran a time of 19:41 and placed 19th. Ethan Aagaard had to battle a side ache and ended up finishing 23rd in a time of 19:49. Bohdan Valvoda ran a personal best time of 20:09 to place 27th. Weston Clementson (20:21) and Sean Skluzacek (20:22) battled it out at the finish again to place 30th and 31st respectively.

Duluth East Invitational 

This meet was held at the Lester Park Golf Course in Duluth. 

“It was a beautiful day, with the exception of the humidity,” Clementson said. “The course was one long hill that the runners had to go up and down twice. It was a great challenge and many of our runners did well.

“This is a very fun meet and weekend for our varsity runners as they are able to bond as a team and do other fun activities going to places Hartley Nature Park and stay the night at The Edgewater Waterpark and Hotel,” he added. “We would like to thank the Pine County Fun Run and an anonymous donor for helping fund this weekend trip.”

GIRLS: The Pine City girls team placed fourth out of six complete teams with a score of 101 points. Duluth East won with 26 points with Hibbing scoring 58 and Cloquet scoring 85. The squad was again without usual fourth runner Gracie Larson, but hopes to have her at full strength come the GRC and Section meets.

Eva Johnson ran a competitive race and placed 10th with a time of 22:12. Emma Belsheim stepped up big and placed 15th in a time of 22:42. Rachel Brown was consistent, as usual, and placed 21st in a time of 23:12. Peyton Perreault had a good race and placed 31st in a time of 24:26. Paige Gray battled it out and placed 33rd in a time of 25:08. Teresa Root ran a personal best time of 26:22 good for 41st place.

BOYS: The boys team placed fifth out of eight complete teams with a total of 123 points. Duluth East won with a score of 37 points. Cloquet scored 60 points, Cambridge-Isanti scored 31 points, and Mora edged the Dragons out by a single point with a score of 122.

Clementson said that many of the boys got tripped up at the start and had to work harder to get back into the race. Charlie Ausmus didn’t have his best performance, but managed to pull out 10th place in a time of 18:11. Ethan Aagaard worked his way up the pack and placed 24th in a time of 19:16. Eli Fromm sprinted to the finish to place 29th in a time of 19:26. Roman McKinney ran consistent and placed 31st in a time of 19:28. Bohdan Valvoda had a great week and ran another personal best time placing 42nd in a time of 20:03. Weston Clementson wasn’t far behind in 44th with a time of 20:13. Milo Rydberg ran a personal best time of 20:35 and placed 50th. Sawyer McDaniel placed 52nd in a time of 20:58. Colin Mich ran a personal best time of 21:04 good for 53rd.

Unfortunately, Sean Skluzacek rolled his ankle and was unable to finish the race.

The team’s next race was on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at the Spring Brook Golf Course in Mora. This was the last regular season meet. The GRC Championship meet will be held at the Grand National Golf Course in Hinckley on Tuesday, Oct. 19. The varsity girls run at 4:10 p.m. and the varsity boys run at 4:45 p.m.

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