The Philomath High School girls track team brought home a championship trophy from Stayton with first place in the Oregon West Conference meet. The boys had to settle for runner-up out of the two-day competition that wrapped up Saturday.
As for those moving on to this weekend’s state meet, the girls qualified five individuals in six events along with both relays. The boys individually qualified five in eight events plus one relay.
Senior Alivia Pittman will compete in four events at the 4A-only meet, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Siuslaw High School in Florence. Pittman easily won both the 100-meter hurdles in 16.22 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 50.30 seconds. She also runs legs on the 100- and 400-meter relays that both qualified.
In the field events, which were staged on Friday, junior Sage Kramer won the discus and also qualified in the javelin and triple jump. Senior Mia Rust won the shot put and senior Amey McDaniel was the champion in the pole vault. Joining them will be junior Emery Boutilier, who it was announced had qualified as a wildcard in the pole vault.
Philomath’s 4-by-100 relay had finished third in its race with a time of 53.40 but moved up to second when Cascade was disqualified, so the foursome moves on to state. Joining Pittman on the relay were junior Haviland Eves, sophomore Ingrid Hellesto and senior Melia Morton.
The girls’ 4-by-400 relay placed third at districts in 4:26.31 but earned a wildcard berth to qualify. Pittman, Eves, Hellesto and Morton run legs on the relay.
For the boys, sophomores Brody Bushnell and Micah Matthews had impressive district meets and will compete in a combined five events.
Bushnell, who was named the track athlete of the meet for the boys, won the 800 in 1:59.68 and the 1,500 in 4:11.36. Coach Joe Fulton said Bushnell “had to produce strong kicks to win both against very talented Sister runners.”
Matthews, who had qualified on Friday in the high jump and pole vault, had finished third in the 110 hurdles on Saturday but earned a spot to state as a wildcard with his time of 16.32. The district race was very close among the top three with Cascade’s Ethan Newton (16.10) and Newport’s Payton Cunningham (16.28) just edging Matthews.
Matthews missed qualifying in the 300 hurdles by one-tenth of a second with his time of 44.54.
“He was in it for the first time in his life and ran in lane 8, but still finished third,” Fulton said. “He had a great meet.”
Senior Sean Cummings earned a district title in the 400 with a time of 52.46, beating the runner-up by 13 hundredths of a second. Two other individuals head to state via wildcard berth — senior Levi Knutson in the 800 (third, 2:03.10) and sophomore Mateo Candanoza in the 3,000 (third, 9:09.41 on Friday).
Philomath’s 4-by-400 relay won by nearly 2 seconds over Cascade with Knutson, senior Justin Enghauser, Cummings and Bushnell each running legs.
Sophomore Ben Hernandez placed third in the 1,500 in 4:15.95 and just missed qualifying via wildcard.
The state meet at Siuslaw begins at 11 a.m. Friday for both field and running events, and on Saturday at 11 a.m. for field events and noon for running events.
The gates for spectators opens at 10:45 a.m. both days for there are restrictions in place. Meet officials announced that they will sell tickets for each individual event ($3 each) and ask that spectators watch their event and then leave the facility. Organizers believe they can get more people in through that method since they are limited to only 100 spectators per seating area.