Kyah Weeber, Hallie Morrison
PHS assistant Tyler Thomas cheers on Hallie Morrison, right, and Kyah Weeber, left, as they enter the track for the final stretch of Saturday’s Paul Mariman Invitational. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The Philomath High School girls cross-country team has one of its deepest-ever rosters this season but unfortunately for the Warriors, the squad’s top two runners couldn’t participate in Saturday’s Paul Mariman Invitational because of illness-related reasons.


The Warriors placed third behind Marist Catholic and Siuslaw with those top point-getters — Adele Beckstead and Ingrid Hellesto — sidelined. Still, in a sizable meet that included 14 full teams and 116 runners, that’s not a bad showing. Senior Kaeleigh Houchin was Philomath’s top finisher with 11th in her final home appearance.

Running high school cross-country goes beyond pure physical ability. Houchin, for example, stays engaged mentally throughout the 5-kilometer course.

“It’s always nice to have in your head that you know what you’re doing,” Houchin said. “Strategy, just targeting the teams that we know are competition to us. This was a weird race — we didn’t have Adele or Ingrid so it was very different.”

Marist Catholic senior Jennifer Tsai easily won the individual title in 19:24.9 with Siuslaw’s Rylee Colton second at 19:47.7. Behind Houchin, Philomath had another top 15 finish with freshman Kateri Pindell covering the distance in 21:17.1, which was a PR by 15 seconds.

Kaeleigh Houchin
Kaeleigh Houchin was Philomath’s top runner with 11th in 21:05. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

“At the beginning of the race, I’m like, ‘oh my gosh, I’m going to die’ — that’s what it feels like almost,” Pindell said about what’s on her mind during the competition. “Definitely towards the end, you don’t feel the greatest either, especially my finish, which everybody likes because I kick really strong.”

Houchin and Pindell have a good-natured intrasquad rivalry of sorts with their similar abilities. Pindell came in ahead of Houchin at the previous week’s Woahink Lake meet but Houchin had the better time at home.

“Kaeleigh was like, ‘I’m going to beat you this time’ and she passed me in the trees and I was like ‘fine,’” Pindell said with a smile. “I was never able to catch back up to her.”

Houchin came in with a season-best time of 21:05.

“I check my form and need to make sure I stay relaxed and focus on targeting people,” Houchin said about how she ran the race. “And you want to stay positive, too. You don’t want to get into your head, that’s the worst thing you can do.”

A freshman with an immediate impact on varsity this season has been Hanna McDaniel and she finished 21st in 21:33.6, which was a PR for her. Two other freshmen contributed to the team score with Hallie Morrison in 27th and Kyah Weeber in 28th. Both of those times were PRs for those athletes.

Kateri Pindell
Freshman Kateri Pindell had a personal-best time of 21:17.1 while placing 14th overall. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Sophomore Phoebe Coen was right there with Morrison and Weeber with 29th in 22:11.7. Coen’s time was a significant PR, improving her best-ever time by more than a full minute. Audrey Gerding rounded out the varsity squad and she was 43rd in 23 minutes flat.

In the junior varsity race earlier in the afternoon, the Warriors had a perfect 15 score. Freshman Brooke McDaniel won in 22:39.4, followed by freshman Janice Hellesto (23:01.9), sophomore Alexa Eckhold (23:07.4), sophomore Danielle Harris (23:29.8) and freshman Averie Wilson (24:17.1). Junior Allison Neelands (eighth, 25:02.9) and senior Emery Boutilier (10th, 25:33.4) also had top-10 finishes.

Philomath was second in the middle school’s 3K competition. Timberhill Harriers, a Philomath-based club, finished fifth. Individually, sixth-grader Reagan Nuno was ninth in 12:20.6 and sixth-grader Cassidy Smart was 10th in 12:24.3. Timberhill’s Ella Rosling, who runs in the 13-14 division, placed second in 11:34.12 in a race that featured 171 runners.

Philomath will be back on the course Thursday with a trip to Black Butte Ranch near Sisters for the Clash in the Cascades.

Paul Mariman Invitational
Saturday, Oct. 9, at Philomath HS

Team Scoring
1, Marist Catholic (Eugene) 44; 2, Siuslaw (Florence) 65; 3, Philomath 85; 4, Bandon 115; 5, Tillamook 152; 6, Newport 206; 7, Cottage Grove 212; 8, Kennedy (Mt. Angel), 217; 9, Estacada 237; 10, Taft 253; 11, Junction City 270; 12, St. Mary’s (Medford), 292; 13, North Douglas (Drain) 298; 14, Culver 331.
Top 10 Individuals
1. Jennifer Tsai, Marist Catholic, 19:24.9
2. Rylee Colton, Siuslaw, 19:47.7
3. Aliya Larsen, Newport, 20:02.2
4. Emilie Nelson, Marist Catholic, 20:09.6
5. Alyssa Johnson, Elmira, 20:22.6
6. Alina Niggli, Marist Catholic, 20:30.3
7. Libby Fox, Junction City, 20:30.4
8. Addison McNeill, Siuslaw, 20:36.0
9. Reeve Helvoigt, Marist Catholic, 20:49.7
10. Ella Bartlett, Sisters, 20:51.9
PHS Results
11. Kaeleigh Houchin, 21:05.0
14. Kateri Pindell, 21:17.1
21. Hanna McDaniel, 21:33.6
27. Hallie Morrison, 22:10.0
28. Kyah Weeber, 22:11.2
29. Phoebe Coen, 22:11.7
43. Audrey Gerding, 23:00.0
Note: The varsity race featured 116 runners.


Team Scoring
1, Philomath 15.
PHS Results
1. Brooke McDaniel, 22:39.4
2. Janice Hellesto, 23:01.9
3. Alexa Eckhold, 23:07.4
4. Danielle Harris, 23:29.8
5. Averie Wilson, 24:17.1
8. Allison Neelands, 25:02.9
10. Emery Boutilier, 25:33.4
15. Ally Todd, 26:16.7
Note: The JV girls race featured 35 runners.


Team Scoring
1, Bowerman Track (Beaverton) 29; 2, Philomath 62; 3, Linus Pauling (Corvallis) 78; 4, Western Christian (Salem) 154; 5, Timberhill Harriers (Philomath) 162; 6, Santiam Christian (Adair Village) 204; 7, Molalla River 210; 8, Creswell 214; 9, Glide 249; 10, North Albany 266; 11, Talmadge (Independence) 271; 12, Monroe 318; 13, Timber Ridge (Albany) 340; 14, Calapooia (Albany) 360; 15, Memorial (Albany) 374.
PMS Results
9. Reagan Nuno, 12:20.6
10. Cassidy Smart, 12:24.3
11. Lucy King, 12:33.4
23. Ana Candanoza, 13:07.5
25. Maggie King, 13:12.5
38. Makayla Lillie, 14:09.8
48. Lucy Thomas, 14:42.2
70. Ava Panico, 15:30.1
82. Ciara Seits, 15:59.5
86. Lizzie Workman, 16:04.2
109. Nasahli Antriasian, 17:21.0
111. Kaitlyn Shuford, 17:37.5
117. Alyssa Lillie, 17:50.9
122. Olivia Cole, 18:22.6
126. Katriina Peltomaki, 18:28.29
137. Brookx Mooney, 19:46.3
171. Claire Fuller, 28:34.7
Timberhill Harriers Results
2. Ella Rosling, 11:34.1
29. Olivia Hernandez, 13:47.9
49. Adeline Ziniker, 14:48.9
59. Logan Jacobsen, 15:12.8
69. Sinikka Laukkanen-Raskauskas, 15:29.2
85. Anna Joy Velez, 16:03.6
127. Taylor James, 18:28.7
128. Coral Ibarra, 18:40.7
143. Samantha Mosbrucker, 20:54.5
Note: The middle school girls race featured 171 runners. has no paywall and to keep it that way, we rely on voluntary memberships. If you’re already a member, thank you for contributing. To join our community as a member or to make a one-time contribution, please CLICK HERE.