Alivia Pittman
PHS senior Alivia Pittman clears the final hurdles in the 300 on Saturday morning. Pittman won both the 100 and 300 hurdles. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath High School’s Alivia Pittman likes a good challenge in any sport. Now a senior for the Warriors’ track and field team, Pittman’s challenge of choice on the oval includes jumping over hurdles.

“For me, I don’t like running in a straight line without an obstacle,” Pittman said Saturday morning after winning both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. “With soccer, I have people to battle off, I have a ball to chase and it’s the same for hurdles. It’s an obstacle to get over and a challenge to master.”

Pittman’s 100-meter time of 16.84 was far better than anyone else who competed on the track Saturday. The meet was split up into morning and afternoon sessions and athletes had to wait until later in the day to find out how they placed in their events. The second- and third-place competitors in the 100 hurdles were from Cascade and ran against Pittman.

In the 300 hurdles, Pittman won with a time of 50.51, which held up for first after a Woodburn runner had a 51.94 in the afternoon. 

“My personal performance wasn’t probably as great as I hoped,” Pittman said. “I ran a little bit slow, the stride felt good but I stuttered a lot in my hurdles. I won, but I did not do as well personally as I had hoped.”

Pittman had five individual victories with another senior, Mia Rust, also claiming first in two events — the shot put and discus. Sophomore Ingrid Hellesto won the 800. Along with several other exceptional performances, Philomath took the team title with 147 points, a fair distance ahead of runner-up Cascade’s 111 and third-place Newport’s 110. Sweet Home (66), Woodburn (48) and Stayton (41) rounded out the field.

Ingrid Hellesto won the 800-meter run in 2:29.40. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Pittman first got into hurdles back in middle school.

“My mom was a hurdler, so that’s what kind of got me into it,” Pittman said. “Eighth grade year, she sent me to Linus Pauling for middle school track and they have a good hurdles coach and he taught me everything. And then I came here and Tyler’s (Thomas) helped refine the little things and so it’s been good.”

Pittman said there was a strange vibe at the meet with no spectators allowed beyond the parents and others that volunteered to assist with events. But there were other oddities.

“It’s a little funky just having three teams and having your hurdles spaced out in the 100s — we had them every other lane — so that was kind of weird,” she said. “So it was a weird atmosphere and dynamic but it’s still nice to get out there and run.”

The invitational was Philomath’s first home track meet since 2017.

Although Pittman wasn’t necessarily happy with her times, she had a season-best performance in the 100 hurdles. Her top times in both events so far this short season rank first in the Oregon West and third in Class 4A. Pittman’s personal-best time of 16.33 in 2019 ranks eighth all-time in Philomath High’s record book.

Mia Rust gives it her all on one of her throws in the discus. Rust won both the shot and discus at Saturday’s meet. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Rust won both of her weight events easily with a shot put of 35 feet, 11 inches and a discus throw of 95-9.5. In the shot, she won by over 3-1/2 feet and in the discus, her throw was about 9-1/2 feet better than the runner-up.

Her performance was just one interesting highlight from Philomath’s efforts in the field events. Junior Sage Kramer, competing for the first time ever in the javelin, had a throw of 99-6 to place third. And freshman Madison Juhl pulled off a bit of a shocker in the triple jump by placing second with a distance of 30-3. She missed winning by just 4 inches.

“She’s only been practicing that for two or three days,” PHS coach Joe Fulton said. “We looked at our league and the best jump was 28 feet-something. Madison’s an athlete, so we said, ‘Madison, we’ll teach you this’ and she picked it up and jumped 30 feet.”

Juhl displayed that athleticism that Fulton mentioned in other events, placing third in both the pole vault (7-6) and discus (82-9.5). Senior Amey McDaniel had a runner-up showing in the pole vault by clearing 8 feet.

In the high jump, freshman Ellie Morton and senior Rachel Billings tied for third at 4-4.

Cascade’s Emma Gates attempts to clear 6 feet in the high jump but just misses. Gates, one of the top high jumpers in the nation, settled for 5-10. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Cascade junior Emma Gates went 5-10 in the high jump and was very close to clearing 6 feet on all three of her attempts. Gates, whose dad Kenny Gates was a standout wrestler at Philomath High in the 1980s, has a top mark of 5-11. That ranks No. 1 in Oregon and No. 2 nationally behind a Florida jumper’s 5-11.75.

In the running events, Hellesto took the 800 by 2.3 seconds over the runner-up with a time of 2:31.70. That time was a personal-record for the PHS sophomore by nearly 3 seconds and ranks No. 4 in Class 4A.

In the 3,000-meter run, junior Audrey Gerding finished strong for second place in 12:08.25. Senior Sarah McDaniel was third in 12:26.36.

Philomath’s Melia Morton reacts to Cascade’s Ashley Fraser falling at the finish line during the 4-by-100 relay. Despite the fall, Cascade took first in the race. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath’s relays had top-three finishes. The 4-by-100 relay of Pittman, Hellesto, Haviland Eves and Melia Morton placed second in 54.30. The 4-by-400 relay of Alexa Eckhold, Jazz Choi, Ellie Morton and Hellesto placed third in 4:37.72.

The team is scheduled to compete on Tuesday at Newport and then will split up on Friday with qualified athletes participating in the Wally Ciochetti Invitational at Cottage Grove and the rest headed to a meet at Cascade.

Philomath Invitational
Saturday, May 1, at Clemens Field, Philomath HS
Team Scoring
1, Philomath 147; 2, Cascade 111; 3, Newport 110; 4, Sweet Home 66; 5, Woodburn 48; 6, Stayton 41.
Winners & PHS Results
100-Meter Dash
1. Emma Gates, Cascade, 12.81
4. Ellie Morton, Philomath, 14.55
7. Emery Boutilier, Philomath, 14.91
15. Allison Neelands, Philomath, 15.55
200-Meter Dash
1. Stella Barber, Newport, 28.33
10. Allison Neelands, Philomath, 32.45
400-Meter Dash
1. Ashley Fraser, Cascade, 1:02.89
800-Meter Run
1. Ingrid Hellesto, Philomath, 2:29.40
1500-Meter Run
1. Jordan White, Neah-Kah-Nie, 5:09.66
5. Kaeleigh Houchin, Philomath, 5:44.18
7. Phoebe Coen, Philomath, 6:01.24
9. Ally Todd, Philomath, 6:20.29
3000-Meter Run
1. Aliya Larsen, Newport, 11:15.57
2. Audrey Gerding, Philomath, 12:08.25
3. Sarah McDaniel, Philomath, 12:26.36
4. Danielle Harris, Philomath, 13:22.84
100-Meter Hurdles
1. Alivia Pittman, Philomath, 16.84
6. Madison Schaffer, Philomath, 21.84
8. Sadie Francis, Philomath, 23.59
300-Meter Hurdles
1. Alivia Pittman, Philomath, 50.51
4×100-Meter Relay
1. Cascade (Cami Oliva, Vynessa Romero, Gabreilla Floyd, Ashley Fraser), 53.00
2. Philomath (Alivia Pittman, Ingrid Hellesto, Haviland Eves, Melia Morton), 54.30
4×400-Meter Relay
1. Cascade (Cami Oliva, Gabreilla Floyd, Emma Gates, Ashley Fraser), 4:13.11
3. Philomath (Alexa Eckhold, Jazz Choi, Ellie Morton, Ingrid Hellesto), 4:37.72
Shot Put
1. Mia Rust, Philomath, 35-11
1. Mia Rust, Philomath, 95-9.5
3. Madison Juhl, Philomath, 82-9.5
8. Brooke Moade, Philomath, 64-0
1. Erika Schones, Newport, 110-3.5
3. Sage Kramer, Philomath, 99-6
8. Mia Rust, Philomath, 87-0
10. Ally Todd, Philomath, 74-4
11. Madison Schaffer, Philomath, 65-7
12. Brooke Moade, Philomath, 63-5
High Jump
1. Emma Gates, Cascade, 5-10
T-3. Ellie Morton, Philomath, 4-4
T-3. Rachel Billings, Philomath, 4-4
8. Sage Kramer, Philomath, 4-2
Pole Vault
1. Anna Wilson, Cascade, 8-6
2. Amey McDaniel, Philomath, 8-0
3. Madison Juhl, Philomath, 7-6
4. Emery Boutilier, Philomath, 7-6
6. Madison Schaffer, Philomath, 7-0
10. Sadie Francis, Philomath, 5-6
Long Jump
1. Crystal Wolf, Sweet Home, 15-6.5
5. Ellie Morton, Philomath, 13-4
6. Madison Juhl, Philomath, 13-1.5
7. Sage Kramer, Philomath, 13-0.5
Triple Jump
1. Shelby Nichol, Sweet Home, 30-7
2. Madison Juhl, Philomath, 30-3
4. Jazz Choi, Philomath, 27-3

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