Philomath High’s youth movement this season in girls track and field continued to pay dividends on Friday and Saturday at the Oregon West Conference Championships. Competing at Husky Field in Sweet Home, 17 of the 21 athletes scoring points for the Warriors are underclassmen and 10 of them are freshmen.
In other words, PHS girls track might be pretty good over the next few years. Heck, they’re pretty good right now with a conference championship representing the latest hardware to add to the trophy case.
The Class 4A Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene on Friday and Saturday will be the next challenge. Philomath qualified nine athletes in 14 events while rolling to the conference title with 205 points — an 83.5-point margin of victory over runner-up Cascade. The conference title is Philomath High’s 14th since 2000.
Despite all of that success among Philomath’s younger athletes, it was a senior in Sage Kramer who pulled off a notable feat by scoring 30 points on her own, earning her the outstanding field event athlete of the meet honor. Kramer had victories in the shot put (33 feet, 9.75 inches), discus (109-6) and javelin (109-3).
Kramer had personal-best marks in the shot and discus. Incredibly, she has thrown the shot only twice now in an interscholastic meet.
The team’s 4-by-100 relay took first by close to a second-and-a-half over Cascade with sophomore Ellie Morton, freshman Natalie Dunn, senior Haviland Eves and freshman Janice Hellesto. The foursome sprinted the oval in 50.82 seconds.
In the long relay, freshman Aneeka Steen, junior Ingrid Hellesto, Dunn and Janice Hellesto easily won with a time of 4:05.10 — 5.4 seconds ahead of the runner-up.
Another bright spot in the field events could be found with Steen winning both the long jump and triple jump. Steen had PRs in both events — going 15-9.25 in the long jump and 33-6.5 in the triple jump.
Janice Hellesto qualified in four events — two individual events and both relays. Individually, Hellesto won the 400 (59.42) and placed second in the 200 (26.26) in a pair of PR performances.
In addition to running legs on the relays, Dunn qualified in the 400 with second place in a personal-best 59.62 to give the Warriors a 1-2 finish. In fact, Janice Hellesto and Dunn are sitting 1-2 in the event in all of 4A.
Ingrid Hellesto heads to Eugene in three events with the long relay and in both hurdling events, winning the 300 hurdles in 47.20 and finishing second in the 100 hurdles in 17.27.
Morton is a three-event qualifier as well. In addition to the 4-by-100, Morton placed third in the high jump with a height of 4-11 and was fourth in the 100 in 13.21 — qualifying in both with those marks.
Senior Jazz Choi qualified for state in the triple jump with her second-place finish in 32-0.75. Freshman Melea Lattin qualified as well with second in the 1,500 in 5:10.46.
Relay alternates for state, coach Joe Fulton said, will be freshman Petra Hernandez and sophomore Elia Gibert Pla for the 4-by-100, and Lattin and sophomore Madison Juhl for the 4-by-400.
Philomath piled up a lot of points with top-eight finishes in several other events.
On the track, Choi placed fourth in the 800 (2:31.53), freshman Brooke McDaniel took fourth in the 3,000 (11:39.0), freshman Kateri Pindell was fifth in the 1,500 (5:23.50) and seventh in the 3,000 (11:43.3), freshman Brooke McDaniel placed fifth in the 3,000 (11:40.1) and sixth in the 1,500 (5:24.98), Lattin was fifth in the 800 (2:33.93), freshman Ariana Boutilier was fifth in the 400 (1:05.55), Morton finished fifth in the 200 (27.82), Steen placed seventh in the 800 (2:34.37) and Hernandez was eighth in the 100 (13.84).
In the field, senior Emery Boutilier just missed qualifying in the pole vault with third place at 8-6. She also placed seventh in the long jump at 14-0.
Other Warriors scoring points in field events were Juhl with fourth in the discus (100-10), sophomore Elia Gibert Pla with fifth in the high jump (4-8), junior Abigail Brown with sixth in the shot put (30-2), junior Ally Todd with sixth in the javelin (82-1), sophomore Clara Stanley with seventh in the javelin (81-5) and freshman Madison Provance with eighth in the shot put (27-10.75)
With the boys also winning, Fulton said it’s the first time since 2001 that Philomath swept the team titles. And also considering the boys’ results, Philomath will have a representative in all 17 events at state — Fulton believes that might be a first in program history.
Editor’s note: This story was revised with an update from the head coach about who would be going to state as alternates on the relays.