From left, Ellensburg’s Chase Perez, Kaden Mattson, Mac Steele, Kate Laurent and Holly Fromherz celebrate their third-place finish Saturday at Irene Rineheart Riverfront Park.

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Mac Steele and Kate Laurent’s new personal bests were two of many for the Ellensburg High School cross country team at the season-premiere Ellensburg Invitational Relays.

The sophomore and senior reached the finish line in their respective first and fifth legs of 8 minutes, 28 seconds and 8:47 Saturday at Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park.

“It was outstanding, everybody had a great time,” said Bulldogs coach Jeff Hashimoto of the 18-school meet of nearly 500 harriers. “Third was really good for us, and Kate ran an outstanding leg for our best female time of the day. I wanted it to be an oddball, fun event, and it allows kids to get out there. For the less experienced kids it’s an intro to racing, and for our more experienced kids it was practice in their 5K times.”

Laurent outpaced her Class 4A West Valley sophomore runner-up Skye Stenehjem (9:19) by 32 seconds.

Holly Fromherz (9:53), Kaden Mattson (8:50) and Chase Perez (8:38) also set PRs as the second, third and fourth legs.

Class 4A Wenatchee, led by senior Lars Sorom (7:53), won the meet, and sophomore Caden Casteel (7:51) and West Valley came second.

The Bulldogs’ Theo Dittmer (PR, 8:58), Rylee Leishman (PR, 9:49), Elaine Joyce (PR, 10:37), Jeremy Wallace (PR, 9:23) and Ruben Munguia (9:30) also made a top-10 team finish in eighth.

“In most of our teams I juggled them up and make it a tie, and it worked out,” said Hashimoto after 10 of his 14 teams placed between 39th and 51st.

Selah’s meet set for the day before was canceled due to smoky skies, so their girls’ team came up to Ellensburg instead.

“We also had teams like Ephrata, who aren’t in our region and we haven’t seen in two years,” Hashimoto said. “Our volunteers and coaching staff were amazing in helping run the meet, and it takes a village.”

Next for the Bulldogs is the 15th Apple Ridge Run Invitational, to include Class 2A, 3A and 4A teams, scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Apple Ridge Cross Country Course in Yakima.

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