The Dalles High cross country team, fresh off mixing it up with larger schools at Oregon City on Saturday, will host its own invitational this Friday.

The Dalles will host nine other teams at the annual Bridgette Nelson invite at Sororis Park. The meet includes a middle school division, of which races are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.

The Riverhawks competed in Oregon City on Saturday, when 20 teams posted team scores. The Riverhawk boys team was sixth overall in the wet, muddy varsity race; the girls squad was 12th. Both teams were missing varsity runners.

Juan Diego Contreras was there, and he and Franklin High’s Charlie North treated spectators to a photo finish in the 5,000-meter varsity race. North edged the junior from The Dalles, 15 minutes, 52.55 seconds to 15:52.63. Contreras’ finish broke up a Franklin wave of runners, who finished first, and third through eighth, and easily won the boys team title.

The Dalles sophomore Leo Lemann continued his steady improvement, registering a personal best 16:51 and placed 11th among the 143 varsity runners.

“Leo is well on track to get under 16:45 this season,” The Dalles Coach Jill Pearson said. “I’ve met few kids who work as tirelessly and consistently as he does — every interval, every long run. It helped to have Franklin and some other bigger programs to race with — going into his third mile, Leo just kept picking off more and more runners.”

Pearson said course and weather conditions factored into the races’ outcomes. “Oregon City was very wet and extremely muddy,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve seen as many falls (and quick recoveries) at a meet before.”

For The Dalles that included junior Kayden McCavic’s acrobatic fall and recovery en route to his 88th place finish. Pearson said. “I got to see Kayden slip in the mud into a perfect somersault and keep running without missing a beat — doing gymnastics as a kid paid off.”

On the girls side, senior Caitie Wring paced the Riverhawk finishers — as she has all season. Wring was 45th in varsity girls race of 125 finishing runners, clocking 21:31 — which is less than 20 seconds off her personal best set two years ago. Equally as important, Wring pulled along frosh teammate Alaina Casady to a 48th place finish in a personal best 21:49.

“It’s been very rewarding to watch (the girls team) improve, even from Hermiston (another flat course) to Oregon City,” Pearson said. “Caitie and Alaina finished close to each other; it definitely helps to have a teammate to practice and race with.”

Cross country notes: Hood River Valley did not have a meet scheduled this past week; the Eagles travel Saturday to compete at east Portland’s Blue Lake Park in the Nike XC invite. Columbia High did have a meet scheduled, but the Bruins stayed at home to train instead, because there was no bus available to transport the runners to a Trico meet in La Center. Columbia will be closer to home on Thursday; Coach Mike Hannigan’s team is scheduled to compete at a meet hosted by Stevenson at Strawberry Island in North Bonneville.