PHS boys cross-country team
PHS boys cross-country team (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The Philomath High School boys cross-country team certainly has a few individuals that can run with the best in Class 4A. But from a team perspective, strength in numbers accurately describes a lineup trying to make another run at a state championship.

The Warriors’ performance at Saturday’s Ultimook Race at Hydrangea Ranch near Tillamook served as an illustration of the program’s deep roster. Philomath dominated by placing six runners among the meet’s top 10 individuals.

In the team results, the Warriors won with 26 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Tillamook with 48. Newport was a distant third at 71.

PHS cross-country coach Joe Fulton described the course as “relatively flat but with several obstacles, including large puddles, muddy stretches, thick gravel and sharp turns.”

Tillamook senior Marshall Bush, who has the top time in 4A this season, easily took the individual title on his home course in a time of 16:13.35.

For the Warriors, sophomore Brody Bushnell finished runner-up in 17:21.26 and senior Grant Hellesto was right behind in third in 17:23.31. Others for PHS in the top 10 included Levi Knutson in sixth (17:53.20), sophomore Jesse Erickson in seventh (18:04.47), senior Justin Enghauser in eighth (18:05.13) and senior Sean Cummings in 10th (18:49.69).

Beyond the team’s top six, senior Jace Barrett placed 12th (19:15.32) and sophomore Micah Matthews was 14th (19:50.47) to give the team eight in the top 14.

In all, a dozen runners competed for the Warriors. Two athletes that also play soccer were not able to participate.

PHS finished runner-up to Tillamook in the girls’ race. The home school was first with 31 points, Philomath second at 49 and Astoria third at 79.

Philomath’s Ingrid Hellesto and Kaeleigh Houchin both finished in the top five individually. Hellesto, a sophomore, came in with a time of 21:37.90 and Houchin, a junior, was fifth in 22:12.84.

“Ingrid and Kaeleigh were middle of the pack in the early stages of the race but picked off runners the rest of the way to place in the top five,” Fulton said.

The team’s three freshmen — Alexa Eckhold, Phoebe Coen and Danielle Harris finished 13th, 14th and 17th, respectively.

“Phoebe was just 1 second behind Alexa as the two battled one another in the final stretch,” Fulton said.

Eckhold finished in 24:01.82, Coen was right behind in 24:02.94 and Harris ran the course in 24:47.64. Sophomore Ally Todd was 19th in 25:55.05.

Tillamook senior Sarah Pullen won the race individually in 20:03.55.

“Most schools in the 4A classification have now had at least one meet and in hypothetical scoring, Philomath ranks No. 1 for both boys and girls in the Oregon West Conference,” Fulton said. “The boys are No. 3 in the state standings while the girls are ranked No. 7.”

Fulton said Philomath will have a big test Saturday when the team competes in the Husky Invitational at Sweet Home. Besides the home Huskies, Oregon West rivals Stayton, Cascade and Woodburn will also be running.

The Husky Invite will feature 18 high schools tackling the course in three waves beginning at noon. Philomath will run in the final waves with the boys at 3 p.m., and the girls at 3:45 p.m.

Spectators are not allowed at the meet.

Ultimook Race
At Hydrangia Ranch, Tillamook

Team Scoring
1, Philomath 26; 2, Tillamook 48; 3, Newport 71; 4, Astoria 99; 5, North Marion 136.
Top 10 Individuals
1. Marshall Bush, Tillamook, 16:13.35
2. Brody Bushnell, Philomath, 17:21.26
3. Grant Hellesto, Philomath, 17:23.31
4. James Lackey, Newport, 17:51.67
5. Johnathan Ginyrich, Tillamook, 17:52.31
6. Levi Knutson, Philomath, 17:53.20
7. Jesse Erickson, Philomath, 18:04.47
8. Justin Enghauser, Philomath, 18:05.13
9. Sam Laurel, Newport, 18:26.99
10. Sean Cummings, Philomath, 18:49.69.
Other PHS Results
12. Jace Barrett, 19:15.32
14. Micah Matthews, 19:50.47
25. Bryan Thomas, 20:58.80
36. George House, 22:07.60
42. Aidan Bruce, 26:03.40
43. Maxwell Carter, 26:12.22
Team Scoring
1, Tillamook 31; 2, Philomath 49; 3, Astoria 79; 4, Newport 85; 5, North Marion 137.
Top 10 Individuals
1. Sarah Pullen, Tillamook, 20:03.55
2. Aliya Larsen, Newport, 20:47.53
3. Ingrid Hellesto, Philomath, 21:37.90
4. Ella Zilli, Astoria, 21:45.46
5. Kaeleigh Houchin, Philomath, 22:12.84
6. Shayla Hillstrom, Tillamook, 22:40.46
7. Lily Prince, Tillamook, 22:41.93
8. Nina Zweifel, Tillamook, 23:01.96
9. Vivian Seaholm, Tillamook, 23:09.33
10. Lillia Schoegje, Banks, 23:51.50
Other PHS Results
13. Alexa Eckhold, 24:01.82
14. Phoebe Coen, 24:02.94
17. Danielle Harris, 24:47.64
19. Ally Todd, 25:55.05

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