Brody Bushnell
Brody Bushnell raises his arm in triumph while winning the 800-meter run at Saturday's Philomath Invitational. Bushnell covered the distance in 1:58.17. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Dating back to his solo runs in middle school, Brody Bushnell has gotten used to running alone. Even when it’s 800 meters. Now a sophomore in high school, Bushnell is the only runner in Class 4A to break 2 minutes in the event.

Competing in Philomath High’s first home meet in four years, Bushnell won with a time of 1:58.17. And he pretty much ran alone with the runner-up finishing more than 6-1/2 seconds behind him.

“I’m kind of used to running by myself in the 800 … I think I’m a lot better at dialing in the pace,” Bushnell said. “Before, I’d come out way too fast the first lap and die on the second lap. But I’ve learned to control myself so I can really pick it up on the second lap.”

Coach Joe Fulton believes Bushnell would benefit from a little competition.

“That’s his first time under 2 minutes, leads the state, and he did it from start to finish,” Fulton said. “He didn’t have anybody ahead of him and he’s a good runner from behind. If he’s got somebody to kick against, he’ll run faster.”

The runner-up happened to be senior Levi Knutson and even though he finished a bit behind Bushnell, his 2:04.82 was an exceptional time. It was not only a PR for Knutson, but it ranks as the sixth-fastest in 4A so far this season.

Levi Knutson
Levi Knutson’s 2:04.82 ranks No. 6 in Class 4A. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

In the team race, Newport took first place with 146 points with Cascade second (108) and Philomath third (103). Sweet Home (96), Woodburn (44) and Stayton (29) completed the field. Cascade, PHS and Stayton participated in the morning session with Newport, Sweet Home and Woodburn in the afternoon. The meet was split up in that way as a COVID-19 precaution.

Philomath had two other individual wins in the running events and also finished first in one of the relays. Sophomore Mateo Candanoza won the 3,000 by a fair margin with a time of 9:36.28. That was a PR and ranks ninth in Class 4A.

Senior Sean Cummings took the oval in 52.44 seconds for first in the 400. Cummings’ nearest competitor ran in the afternoon session but was 1.28 seconds slower. In Class 4A, Cummings has the second-best time, less than 1 second behind a Mazama runner.

Justin Enghauser, Sean Cummings
Sean Cummings takes the baton from Justin Enghauser during the 4-by-400 relay. Philomath’s has one of the top times in the state in the event. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath’s 4-by-400 relay took first place by just over 4 seconds with Cascade second. Knutson, senior Justin Enghauser, Cummings and Bushnell run legs on the relay. Their time came in at 3:35.55.

“The 4-by-400, that’ll probably hold up,” Fulton said. “They were the fastest team in the state (heading into the meet) and they ran about the same time.”

The relay’s fastest time of 3:35.31 came at the season-opening Central Coast Invite and as Fulton indicated, that still ranked No. 1 in Class 4A through Saturday.

The short relay finished second in 47.01 with Ainsworth, Cummings, sophomore Isaac Workman and Bushnell.

Philomath’s third-place finishers in the track events included senior Lucas Ainsworth in the 100 (12.26), sophomore Micah Matthews in the 110 hurdles (17.78) and senior Grant Hellesto in the 300 hurdles (46.49).

George House
Senior George House competes in the shot put. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

In the field events, senior George House went 37-3 in the triple jump to place third.

Among the other performances on Saturday, Fulton said he was pleased to see sophomore Ben Hernandez’s showing in the 1,600. Hernandez covered the distance in 4:26.89, a PR for him and second-best on the team this season.

“We got some times today that will look good on the state level and help us decide which kids to take to the Wally Ciochetti meet next Friday and which kids to send over to Cascade,” Fulton said. “I think we’ve got a few more kids that qualified for Ciochetti.”

The Warriors’ next meet on the schedule arrives Tuesday with a trip over to Newport.

The excitement of Philomath High hosting a track meet for the first time since 2017 could be felt in the air despite the lack of spectators. The athletes were actually competing against other schools at a venue that has only been a training ground.

“It’s nice to have a track meet here; we’ve been waiting a long time,” Fulton said. “And the facility held up, it was good. The field events were good, it wasn’t swamp land out there even though it rained last night.”

Philomath Invitational
Saturday, May 1, at Clemens Field, Philomath HS
Team Scoring
1, Newport 146; 2, Cascade 108; 3, Philomath 103; 4, Sweet Home 96; 5, Woodburn 44; 6, Stayton 29.
Winners & PHS Results
100-Meter Dash
1. Ashton Williams, Cascade, 11.43
3. Lucas Ainsworth, Philomath, 12.08
29. Maxwell Carter, Philomath, 16.57
200-Meter Dash
1. Ashton Williams, Cascade, 23.29
4. Sean Cummings, Philomath, 24.50
9. Isaac Workman, Philomath, 25.96
14. Bryan Thomas, Philomath, 27.15
400-Meter Dash
1. Sean Cummings, Philomath, 52.44
5. Grant Hellesto, Philomath, 54.08
14. Bryan Thomas, Philomath, 1:00.16
800-Meter Run
1. Brody Bushnell, Philomath, 1:58.17
2. Levi Knutson, Philomath, 2:04.82
1500-Meter Run
1. James Lackey, Newport, 4:22.83
4. Ben Hernandez, Philomath, 4:26.89
5. Justin Enghauser, Philomath, 4:29.96
14. Lukas Dunn, Philomath, 5:10.49
3000-Meter Run
1. Mateo Candanoza, Philomath, 9:36.28
110-Meter Hurdles
1. Payton Cunningham, Newport, 16.07
3. Micah Matthews, Philomath, 17.78
300-Meter Hurdles
1. Ethan Newton, Cascade, 42.54
3. Grant Hellesto, Philomath, 46.49
4×100-Meter Relay
1. Cascade (Jesus Franco, Thomas Boyer, Lance VanHoose, Ashton Williams), 45.72
2. Philomath (Lucas Ainsworth, Sean Cummings, Isaac Workman, Brody Bushnell), 47.01
4×400-Meter Relay
1. Philomath (Levi Knutson, Justin Enghauser, Sean Cummings, Brody Bushnell), 3:35.55
5. Philomath B (Lukas Dunn, George House, Bryan Thomas, Ben Hernandez), 3:55.11
Shot Put
1. Charles Crawford, Sweet Home, 39-9.25
8. Micah Matthews, Philomath, 33-8.5
11. Isaac Workman, Philomath, 32-8
14. George House, Philomath, 30-7
20. Jared Gerding, Philomath, 27-3
28. Aidan Bruce, Philomath, 20-10.5
1. Payton Cunningham, Newport, 134-0
17. Casey McDaniel, Philomath, 70-0.5
1. Connor Reidman, Stayton, 144-5
7. Micah Matthews, Philomath, 108-8
15. Lucas Ainsworth, Philomath, 95-8
20. Casey McDaniel, Philomath, 85-7.5
24. Aaron Schaffer, Philomath, 77-5
28. Maxwell Carter, Philomath, 42-4
High Jump
1. Quinton Travis, Newport, 6-0
5. Micah Matthews, Philomath, 5-4
Pole Vault
1. Eli Atiyeh, Cascade, 8-6
2. Aaron Schaffer, Philomath, 8-6
Long Jump
1. Tristan Calkins, Sweet Home, 21-0.5
Triple Jump
1. Carter Anderson, Woodburn, 39-6.75
3. George House, Philomath, 37-3

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