HALSTEAD — The Halstead High School boys' cross country team defended its home course Thursday, winning the Halstead Invitational at the Wedgewood Golf Course.

The Dragons edged Southeast of Saline by a point, 65-66. Pretty Prairie was third at 117.

"It was good win for us," Halstead coach Curtis Vermillion said. "We knew we had a chance today. You can't ask for more that that. They have a good attitude and they're hungry. They want to get better every day. We've been dealing with a few injuries. I can't ask for more out of them. I'm proud of them."

The Dragons were led by freshman Steven Cline, who took second in 18:23.51 (5,000 meters). Tyler Balsters of Belle Plaine won the race in 17:38.51.

"It was very windy," Cline said. "It was kind of warm, and with the wind, that made it hard to run. I couldn't have done it without God."

It was Cline's second meet against Balsters, a senior. The two also are expected to meet again at regionals.

"We ran against each other at Southeast of Saline," Cline said. "He got me at about 50 meters to the finish line. He got me today. I'll have him again. I need to get stronger and build up more endurance to race."

Other medalists for the Halstead boys were Patrick Porch in seventh in 19:05.62, Darien Dawson in ninth in 19:12.32 and Cody Reinert in 25th in 20:38.06.

"We haven't had these conditions since the first couple weeks of the season," Vermillion said. "With the heat and the wind, times for everybody were a bit slow."

Sedgwick had just four boys running, so had no team score. Josh Freeman led the Sedgwick boys, claiming a 19th-place medal in 20:21.48

In the girls' competition, Douglass edged Circle 53-56. Southeast of Saline was third at 80. Sedgwick was fifth at 101, followed by Halstead at 147.

Brenda McCollum of Leon-Bluestem won the girls' race in 16:19.14, more than 20 seconds ahead of Douglass' Klair Gibson. Suzie Wright of Douglass took third at 16:53.42.

The Sedgwick girls claimed two medals — Shae Ware in 12th at 18:24.35 and Quinn Noone in 18th in 18:54.73.

Halstead and Sedgwick both travel to the Burrton Invitational at 4 p.m. Thursday at Harvey County West Park. Halstead competes in the Central Kansas League meet Oct. 17 at Hesston. Sedgwick competes in the Heart of America League meet Oct. 17 in Canton. Both teams compete at the Class 3A regionals Oct. 26 at Lake Afton.

"We have to focus on maintaining, not getting injured and staying confident," Vermillion said. "We have a tough regional. Anytime, you have to to down to Lake Afton, it's a tough course. It's a strong field, especially with Hesston now in 3A. It will be one of the strongest regionals."