Ben Hernandez, seen here at last season’s state track meet, took first place at Saturday’s Northwest Classic. (File photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The Philomath High School cross-country teams issued an alert to other teams around the state on Saturday — the Warriors are a force to be reckoned with this fall.

Competing in the sizable Northwest Classic at Lane Community College in Eugene, Philomath swept the team titles and the individual titles. Senior Ben Hernandez continued his torrid early-season pace with a time of 16:16.4, which was just 1.3 seconds off the personal-best he had set the previous week.

Philomath High’s boys cross-country team poses for a group photo after winning Saturday’s Northwest Classic in Eugene. (Photo provided by Joe Fulton)

In the girls’ race, sophomore Adele Beckstead won with a personal-best time of 19:16.3, a victory of 26.5 seconds over her nearest competitor. The time bettered her previous PR by nearly 30 seconds.

Philomath will be running at Lane Community College again in November at the 4A state championships. Although it’s a little early in the season to think too far ahead, the Warriors have been seeing a fair amount of success that firmly embeds both the boys and girls programs into the thick of their respective 4A title chases.

Beyond those individual performances, Philomath took those team trophies with a deep roster that produced point-scoring results. The boys scored 45 points to beat out runner-up Siuslaw’s 61 on the strength of five runners placing among the top 15.

Hernandez had a race on his hands at the end with a win of just under 4 seconds over La Pine’s Wyatt Montgomery, who finished runner-up at last season’s 3A-2A-1A state meet. Senior Mateo Candanoza placed sixth in 16:37.1 and senior Brody Bushnell was 10th in 17:33.6.

Freshman standout Leo Pausch placed 13th in 17:44.7 and senior Jesse Erickson was 15th in 17:54.5. Freshman Lukas Hernandez finished 25th in 18:35.6. There were 121 runners in the boys’ varsity race.

The PHS girls had a dominating performance at Saturday’s Northwest Classic in Eugene. (Photo provided by Joe Fulton)

On the girls’ side, Philomath placed four runners in the top 10 and six in the top 20 to win the team title comfortably. The Warriors finished with 28 points to beat out runner-up Siuslaw’s 77.

Individually, Beckstead knocked 42.4 seconds off the time that she ran the previous week. Senior Ingrid Hellesto came in at 20:22.5 to place fourth, freshman Ana Candanoza had a 20:34.7 to finish sixth and sophomore Hallie Morrison clocked at 21:07.5 for 10th.

Sophomore Kateri Pindell finished 18th in 21:36.9 and freshman Lucy King was 19th in 21:41.5. Sophomore Brooke McDaniel came in 28th in 22:11.6. The girls’ varsity race included a field of 103 runners.

Philomath will next run in the Cottage Grove Bramble Scramble on Sept. 24. The varsity events have start times of 1:15 p.m. for the girls and 2 p.m. for the boys. The JV races are at 11:45 a.m. for the girls and 12:30 p.m. for the boys.


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