Ingrid Hellesto leads in the 100 hurdles at Saturday's Philomath Invite. The Warrior senior won both hurdling events at the home meet. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Pulling off a hurdling sweep during Saturday afternoon’s Philomath Invitational, senior Ingrid Hellesto was among the Warrior athletes scoring significant points in the team’s title-winning performance.

Hellesto’s accomplishment is especially noteworthy considering she’s only in her second season of competing in one of the sport’s most demanding events. Last year, head coach Joe Fulton obviously saw potential in Hellesto to have the athletic skills necessary to score valuable points. She tried the 300 hurdles in a full multi-school invitational for the first time at last year’s Philomath meet and won. Three weeks later, she added the 100 hurdles and went on to medal in both events at state. Those points helped the Warriors win the 4A title. 

Philomath boys end meet on high note with 4-by-400 victory

Philomath High’s two fastest quarter-milers were just too much for the competition in the meet-ending 4-by-400 relay Saturday at the Philomath Invitational. Setting up in the second position to receive the baton for the race’s third leg, senior Nixon Mooney had some ground to make up. But he closed fast and took the lead about…

“We didn’t really have a lot of girl hurdlers and so Joe just kind of threw me in there and said go run that — so I gave it a try,” Hellesto said. “And I loved it.”

Philomath High’s girls easily won the home meet with nearly twice as many team points as the runner-up. The Warriors finished with 195 to Cascade’s 99.5. Junction City was a close third with 94. Nine schools sent athletes to the meet.

PHS individuals placed among the top three in 13 events and also won both relays. In addition to her individual wins, Hellesto ran legs on two winning relays — the 4-by-100 and the 4-by-400.

“I’m feeling really confident in my events,” she said. “Definitely in the 100 hurdles, I’m still trying to get down my three-step just to get my time down a little bit but I’m feeling really good.”

Hellesto’s goal is to break her personal records in each of those events, which she set at last year’s state meet — 16.99 in the 100 and 46.93 in the 300.

PHS junior Ellie Morton finishes strong to win the 100. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Junior Ellie Morton also had three first-place performances with wins in the 100 and long jump and as part of the 4-by-100 relay.

“I haven’t practiced very much in the last week because I was on a trip visiting my sister,” Morton said. “But there’s some improvement this year, especially in the long jump.”

In that event, Morton had a PR with a jump of 15 feet, 2.25 inches. In the 100, Morton ran a season-best 13.38, which is 0.12 off her best time set at last year’s district meet.

Sophomores Natalie Dunn and Janice Hellesto had a 1-2 finish in the 400.

“We’re in a lot of the same events but it’s friendly in the relays and it’s good to have each other to push,” Dunn said.

Dunn finished the 400 in 1:02.29 to beat out her teammate by six-tenths of a second. Both had been entered in the 200 — Hellesto won in 26.28 seconds but Dunn decided to scratch.

Sophomore Janice Hellesto runs to victory with the final leg of the 4-by-400 relay. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Sophomore Anneka Steen was also a double-winner with victories in both the high jump and triple jump. Steen had a PR performance in the high jump by clearing 4-10 and went 32-0.5 in the triple jump.

Sophomore Adele Beckstead ran alone for most of the 3,000 and won with a time of 11:01.63.

Competing on the winning relays were Morton, the Hellesto sisters and Dunn on the 4-by-100 and sophomore Melea Lattin, the Hellesto sisters and Dunn on the 4-by-400. The Warriors won the short relay in 51.12 to edge Marist Catholic’s 51.26. In the 4-by-400, Philomath took first by a little more than 12 seconds over the Marist foursome.

Besides Janice Hellesto’s second in the 400, Philomath had three other runner-up finishes with freshman Ana Candanoza in the 800 (2:29.74), Lattin in the 1,500 (5:21.86) and junior Madison Juhl in the discus (90-11.5). Candanoza’s time was a PR.

Philomath will next head to the Rob Frank Invitational on April 15 at Banks.

Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.