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The Bulldogs girls are a perennial WIAA Cross Country Class 2A State Championships contender.

Kate Laurent, Elaine Joyce, Emma Beachy, Margaret Hudson, Holly Fromherz, Rylee Leishman and Esther Selby of Ellensburg High ran to fifth as a team in their 5,000-meter run for the Bulldogs girls’ sixth top-five finish in a row and their 10th top-10 in as many tries Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.

“It was not our best day as a team,” Ellensburg coach Jeff Hashimoto said. “A couple of the girls had rough races, and we were hoping to place higher. Still, to be fifth in state on an off day shows what a good team this is.”

The Bulldogs came up fifth, fourth and fifth in 2016, 2017 and 2018, won it all for the first time in 2019 and were second only to Anacortes in 2020.

Laurent placed fourth individually Saturday in 18 minutes, 36.6 seconds, followed by Joyce (52nd, 21:22.6), Beachy (56th, 21:25.8), Hudson (60th, PR 21:28.8), Fromherz, who Hashimoto said struggled through a side ache (80th, 21:55.3), Leishman (82nd, 21:57.2) and Selby (96th, 22:10).

“The course is challenging and hilly,” Hashimoto said. “Kate has missed a few races in October and her buildup was not ideal, so her race was especially impressive.”

Anacortes junior Jessica Frydenlund (17:58.8) won the girls’ race but Sehome (64 points) did just enough to outpace Anacortes (65) for the team title.

Laurent, a senior in her fourth state trip after taking second to Frydenlund in 2020, fourth in 2019 and 14th in 2018, graduates with Ellensburg girls’ records in the one-mile (5:46 set in 2021), 1.5-mile (8:47, 2021), 4,000 (15:32, 2020), three-mile (17:32, 2021) and 5,000 (17:31.9, 2021), according to the Bulldogs’ athletic.net team page.

In the boys’ 5,000, Chase Perez (29th, 17:04.5), Jeremy Wallace (52nd, 17:27.1) and Mac Steele (17:49.8) represented Ellensburg as individuals as Selah senior Cooper Quigley (15:38.3) led the pack and Squalicum (77) ran away from Selah (99) for first.

“It was their first time running on the state course, and they had outstanding races,” Hashimoto said. “These runners have had tremendous improvements over the past year. The future looks bright. We will miss Kate and Elaine next year, but the other five racers will be back next year so I am excited for the future.”

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