The Philomath High School girls track and field team dominated the Stayton Invitational on Saturday with top-six finishes in 19 events — five of those victories.
The Warriors piled up 143 points and beat out the runner-up squad from McKay by an impressive 84.5 points. Twenty-four schools scored points at the meet with the top four being Philomath, McKay (58.5), Stayton (56) and Molalla (47).
Philomath’s relays continued their winning ways with victories in both the short and long versions. In the 4-by-400, Aneeka Steen, Ingrid Hellesto, Natalie Dunn and Janice Hellesto came in with a time of 4:08.25 — more than 9 seconds ahead of the runner-up. In the 4-by-100, Ellie Morton, Dunn, Haviland Eves and Janice Hellesto sprinted the oval in 51.61 seconds.
In the individual events, Sage Kramer was a double winner with firsts in the discus and javelin. Kramer’s throw of 106 feet, 3 inches in the discus edged the runner-up by 10 inches and her distance of 113 in the javelin was 5-1/2 feet better than second place.
Janice Hellesto also had a win in the field events by taking first in the long jump at 16 feet, 7.25 inches, which was 3.25 inches better than the runner-up. In the individual running events, she had a second-place showing in the 400 with a time of 1:02.09 — the first time she’s competed in that event in an invitational.
Dunn and Kateri Pindell also had second-place finishes on the track. Dunn competed in the 200 for the first time beyond team trials and had a time of 27.28. A McKay runner easily took first in the 3,000 but Pindell won a close battle for second with a time of 12:04.68.
Steen had two top-three finishes individually with second in the triple jump with a personal-record 33-5.75 and third in the 400 at 1:04.43. Morton contributed points with third in the 100 (13.85) and fourth in the high jump (4-8).
Melea Lattin and Madison Juhl each had third-place finishes and both had PRs. Lattin ran the 800 in 2:28.08 and Juhl threw the discus 99-7.
Other top-six finishes for the Warriors included Brooke McDaniel in the 1,500 (fourth, 5:26.40), Kaeleigh Houchin in the 3,000 (fourth, 12:09.63), Emery Boutilier in the pole vault (fourth, 8-0), Hanna McDaniel in the 1,500 (fifth, 5:26.57) and Jazz Choi in the 800 (sixth, 2:32.22).
In the boys’ portion of the meet, Philomath placed fourth with 58.5 points behind Siuslaw (109.5), Ridgeview (70) and Cottage Grove (67.5). Twenty-one schools scored points.
Micah Matthews had a stellar performance with victories in both hurdle events. Matthews won the 110 hurdles in 16.51 seconds to edge Cottage Grove’s Tyler Russell by 0.17 of a second. In the 300 hurdles, Matthews won by just under 1 second with a time of 42.91 — a PR for the Warriors junior. In the high jump, Matthews placed sixth by clearing 5-8.
Mateo Candanoza ran the 1,500 in this meet and finished with a personal-best time of 4:12.01 for first place. Candanoza’s closest competitor finished just under 3 seconds behind him.
Ben Hernandez placed third in the 800 with a time of 2:03.51, which was a PR for the junior.
Other top-six finishes in the individual events included Warwick Bushnell’s fifth in the 200 (23.72) and Jesse Erickson’s fifth in the 3,000 (9:57.57).
Philomath’s 4-by-400 relay placed second with Simon King, Warwick Bushnell, Hernandez and Brody Bushnell taking turns with the baton. They covered the distance in 3:36.39 and finished just over 1 second behind the winners from McKay.
Brody Bushnell competed the previous day at the highly-competitive Nike/Jesuit Twilight Relays and finished 19th in the 1,500 with a season-best time of 4:05.57. Valley Catholic’s Henry Tierney won the event in 3:53.97 and eight runners finished under 4 minutes.
Philomath is scheduled to run next on May 6 at the Wally Ciochetti Invitational — the final regular-season meet before proceeding to the Oregon West Conference Championships on May 13-14.