Ana Candanoza, (311) and Adele Beckstead (310) placed third and fifth, respectively, at Saturday’s Stayton XC Invitational. (Photo provided by Eddy Pausch)

The Philomath High School girls cross-country team easily ran to first place Saturday at the Stayton XC Invitational with five of the top 15 runners.

Competing on a hilly, slower course with three creek crossings on the nature trails at Stayton Middle School, sophomore Ana Candanoza placed third and junior Adele Beckstead was fifth to give the Warriors two top-five finishes. Candanoza came in with a time of 20:20, three seconds ahead of a North Eugene runner. Beckstead followed in 20:46.

A field of 96 runners take off for Saturday’s Stayton XC Invitational. (Photo provided by Eddy Pausch)

East Linn Christian junior Daisy Lalonde was the clear winner in 19:06 and North Eugene senior Artana Nice was alone in second in 19:41.

Philomath sophomore Lucy King ran the course in 21:37 to place eighth overall. Junior Melea Lattin came in 11th in 21:53. Junior Hallie Morrison had a time of 22:10 for 14th.

The Warriors’ sixth and seventh varsity runners finished 25th and 26th, respectively. Junior Hanna McDaniel covered the distance in 22:42 and junior Kateri Pindell was right behind at 22:45.

Philomath’s team score of 33 was well ahead of the competition. The real battle was for second place with North Eugene (86), McNary (90) and Sisters (96) all in the running.

JJ Lewis placed 25th in the boys’ race, which included 111 runners, and the PHS boys were fifth out of 15 schools. (Photo provided by Eddy Pausch)

In the boys’ race, Philomath had a top-five placewinner with sophomore Leo Pausch running the course in 18:16, which was good for fifth place. Two other Warriors had top-25 showings with sophomore Lukas Hernandez in 22nd in 19:17 and junior JJ Lewis in 25th in 19:23.

McNary junior Vince Estrada won the race in what came down to a good battle between three runners. Estrade crossed in 17:40 with Sprague junior second in 17:44 and McNary senior Cain Duncan third in 17:45.

Also competing for the Warriors were sophomore Mason Stevens (48th, 20:13), freshman Jacob Hernandez (52nd, 20:40) and sophomore Isaac Avery (66th, 21:27). The varsity race had 111 entries.

Sprague won the team title with 55 points with McNary second with 83 and Mountain View third with 86. Philomath finished a respectable fifth among the 15 teams competing with 149 points.

Philomath’s JV girls dominated with 18 team points and eight of the top 10 runners. Senior Alexa Eckhold was first in 13:27 on a 3-kilometer course and junior Brooke McDaniel was the runner-up in 13:33.

The cross-country teams will next compete Thursday at the Country Fair Classic at the Oregon Country Fairgrounds near Elmira. The varsity girls are scheduled for a 4:45 p.m. start with the varsity boys to follow at 5:30 p.m. The JV will be a boys-girls combined race at 4 p.m.

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