The Philomath High School boys cross-country team took top honors and the girls finished second behind a top 5A school at Saturday’s Saxon Invite in Salem.
Running in challenging conditions that included smoke and humidity at Bush Park, the Warriors were by far the smallest school at the meet. The boys took first place by 20 points over runner-up Crescent Valley and placed three runners among the top 12. The girls, meanwhile, were five points behind the Raiders, the No. 3-ranked team in 5A, and placed three individuals among the top eight.
Seniors Mateo Candanoza, Ben Hernandez and Brody Bushnell were Philomath’s top three runners in the boys’ race. Candanoza placed third in 16:08.64, less than 4 seconds behind the runner-up. Crescent Valley’s Kanoa Blake easily won in 15:38.67.
Hernandez placed sixth in 16:15.01 and Bushnell was 12th in 17:09.88.
Other varsity performances were senior Jesse Erickson in 26th (17:51.08), freshman Leo Pausch in 28th (17:53.18) and senior Seth Arthurs in 49th (18:59.28). The varsity race featured 91 runners.
Crescent Valley had four of the top five individuals to take first place in the girls’ race but even with that impressive performance at the top, the Raiders still beat Philomath by just five points. Sophomore Adele Beckstead placed second with a time of 19:58.64, freshman Ana Candanoza was seventh in 20;14.52 and senior Ingrid Hellesto placed eighth in 20:24.62.
Raiders sophomore Emily Wisniewski won the race by nearly two minutes in 17:59.42.
Philomath’s other four varsity runners all placed among the top 30. Sophomore Hallie Morrison placed 19th in 21:34.42, sophomore Kateri Pindell was right behind her in 20th in 21:38.12, sophomore Brooke McDaniel finished 26th in 22:05.05 and sophomore Hanna McDaniel was 27th in 22:09.22.
The varsity girls race included 70 runners.
Philomath’s JV teams also had exceptional performances. The boys were second in both the JV Gold and JV Silver divisions. Freshman Mason Stevens finished first individually in the JV Silver race. The Warrior girls were first in the JV Gold race and freshman Lucy King finished first individually.
Philomath is scheduled to next run on Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Northwest Classic at Lane Community College in Eugene.