Anchor Janice Hellesto takes off in the 4-by-400 relay after receiving the handoff from Natalie Dunn. (Photo by Eddy Pausch)

The Philomath High School boys and girls track and field teams easily won the team titles Saturday at the Meet of Champions in Sweet Home. The Warriors won 10 events, including a sweep of the four relays.

Philomath’s all-time top 10 lists saw a half-dozen changes — an illustration of just how well the Warriors were performing at the meet.

“It’s unusual for any of our athletes to crack our all-time top 10 in any meet, but it happened six times on Saturday,” PHS coach Joe Fulton said. “Maybe it was the improved weather that brought out the best in everyone, but whatever it was, it was impressive.”

The list includes Ellie Morton (seventh, long jump and 10th, 100), Micah Matthews (eighth, high jump), Ahnika Tryon (ninth, javelin), Warwick Bushnell (10th, 200) and the boys’ 4-by-100 relay (ninth).

The PHS girls won the 28-school meet by a 56.5-point margin with Coquille finishing second, Sisters third and Cascade fourth. 

The Warriors won by considerable margins in the relay races with times of 50.64 in the 4-by-100 and 4:14.31 in the 4-by-400. Senior Ingrid Hellesto, sophomore Natalie Dunn and sophomore Janice Hellesto run on both relays with junior Ellie Morton running a leg on the 4-by-100 and sophomore Anneka Steen competing on the 4-by-400.

The girls also had four individual wins. Morton’s personal-best distance of 16-2.5 in the long jump was good for first place. Janice Hellesto was the top sprinter in the 200 with a time of 26.44. Dunn took the victory in the 400 with a season-best time of 59.60. And Steen edged a couple of Coquille athletes in the triple jump with a season-best distance of 33.8.5.

Freshman Ana Candanoza competes in the 3,000. (Photo by Eddy Pausch)

Morton placed second in the 100 with a personal-record time of 13 flat. She also tied for fifth in the high jump (4-10). Steen cleared 4-10 in fewer attempts to place second in the event. PHS also had a second place in the 300 hurdles with Ingrid Hellesto’s 48.97.

Philomath had four third-place finishes with Dunn in the 200 (27.27), Janice Hellesto in the 400 (1:01.59), sophomore Adele Beckstead in the 3,000 (11:14.23), junior Ahnika Tryon in the javelin (114-7). Tryon’s performance was notable in that it was her first-ever track meet.

Other top-six placewinners included freshman Ana Candanoza in both the 3,000 (fourth, 11:25.13) and 800 (fifth, 2:30.37). Her time in the 3,000 was a personal-best. In the 1,500, Beckstead placed fourth with a personal-best 5:04.93 and sophomore Melea Lattin was fifth in a personal-best 5:07.58.

Senior Mateo Candanoza finishes strong to win the 3,000. (Photo by Eddy Pausch)

The boys won by 49 points over runner-up Cottage Grove with Newport third and Santiam Christian fourth.

Philomath’s relays both secured victories with the 4-by-100 sprinting a 44.69 and the 4-by-400 winning in 3:33.27. Freshman CD Nuno, senior Nixon Mooney and sophomore Warwick Bushnell run on both relays with senior Brody Bushnell running on the short relay and junior Simon King competing on the long relay.

The Warriors had two individual wins with Warwick Bushnell’s 51.95 in the 400-meter dash, winning by less than a hundredth of a second over his teammate. Bushnell and Mooney officially had the same time and they were personal records for both runners.

Senior Mateo Candanoza won the 3,000 in a season-best time of 9:16.43, a victory of less than a second over the runner-up from Sisters. Freshman Leo Pausch placed fourth in the event (9:51.96).


Senior Micah Matthews had top-six finishes in all four of his events — second in the pole vault (12-0), third in the 110 hurdles (15.68), third in the high jump (6-2) and sixth in the 300 hurdles (43.64). Matthews’s height in the high jump was a personal-best.

Warwick Bushnell also sprinted to second place in the 200 in 23.28 with Mooney finishing fourth in 23.99. In the 1,500, Candanoza had a fourth-place showing (4:15.15) and senior Ben Hernandez was fifth (4:16.12). Hernandez placed fourth in the 800 (2:05.39).

Philomath’s next meet is scheduled for April 29 at Junction City.