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Todd finishes ninth in third career trip to state meet

Kassye Todd runs in a pack to begin the 5k race on Saturday, Oct. 28. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Kassye Todd pushes through the 5k race just 50 yards from the finish line in the WIAA Division 3 cross country state championships on Saturday, Oct. 28. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
Todd's long strides gave her a 7th-place spot just before the two-mile mark in Saturday's race. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

Kassye Todd walked into the the WIAA Division 3 cross country state championships with hopes of making it onto the awards podium and left the meet with a ninth-place finish and an accomplished goal.

The senior runner put EPC on the map after finishing ninth with a time of 19:50.46 in her last high school cross country meet held at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 28.

Todd described the course as having quite a few hills, and said she can always expect to see tough competition at the state meet.

"It's always kind of hard jumping from your normal competition to state, because [state is] just so much bigger," Todd said prior to Saturday's meet. "But I just have to run my own race and take it in strides."

The three-time state runner followed her own advice in Saturday's race and maintained a seventh-to-ninth-place spot throughout the 5k.

Claiming a spot on the awards podium was Todd's ultimate goal before Saturday, but she said she would be happy with whatever results came out of the 5k.

"I accept just having my best race and running my own race," Todd said.

Todd made back-to-back-to-back state meet appearances, which is something no other EPC runner has ever been able to do.

"[Todd] is by far the most successful runner we've ever had," EPC cross country head coach Kristel Flesberg said.

Flesberg started EPC's cross country program 12 years ago, and said that the team has sent runners to the state meet before but that Todd is the first to qualify for the meet in three consecutive years.

"It'll be sad to see her graduate and go, but hopefully we'll have some middle schoolers step up and fill her shoes," Flesberg said.

Todd said she'll miss her teammates the most now that her high school cross country career is over, but that she is also thinking about running cross country in college.

Marissa Ellenbecker, a sophomore from Edgar, claimed the Division 3 cross country title with a time of 18:56.33. Dodgeland came in first place as a team on Saturday with 56 points in the Division 3 girls 5k.