Natalie Dunn
PHS freshman Natalie Dunn took first place in the 800-meter run and ran legs on two winning relays at Saturday’s Meet of Champions. (File photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The Philomath High School girls track and field team swept the relays and freshman Natalie Dunn and junior Ingrid Hellesto won individual events on the track at Saturday’s Meet of Champions.

The 4-by-400-meter relay of freshman Anneka Steen, Ingrid Hellesto, Dunn and freshman Janice Hellesto took first place in a close race against Cascade. The Warrior foursome finished with a time of 4:10.33, just ahead of Cascade’s 4:10.48. Janice Hellesto had a strong finish to hold off the Cougars’ top runner. The times by Philomath and Cascade are the top two in 4A so far this season.

Earlier in the meet, the 4-by-100 relay of sophomore Ellie Morton, Dunn, senior Haviland Eves and Janice Hellesto won with a time of 51.94 seconds. Again in this one, Cascade had to settle for second with a 52.70.

In the 400-meter dash, Dunn broke the tape first in 1:01.46, beating the runner-up by nearly a second and a half. Ingrid Hellesto won a competitive 300 hurdles in a personal-best time of 48.88 with the runner-up close behind in 49 flat.

In the field events, senior Sage Kramer threw a personal-best 117 feet, 4 inches in the javelin, which appeared to tie her for first place with Coquille junior Trinidy Blanton. Both throwers had 117-4 but the official results show Blanton as winning and Kramer second. Kramer’s throw is the best so far this season in 4A.

Steen placed in two individual events with second in the triple jump at 33-5, a personal-best mark and 1.25 behind the winner. She was also second in the 800 in 2:29.57, another PR performance, and less than a second behind the first-place finisher.

Janice Hellesto was second in the 200-meter dash in 26.98. Cascade’s Emma Gates, whose dad was a standout wrestler at Philomath High in the 1980s, won in 25.85.

The Warriors had several other individuals record top-six finishes at the meet. A second Philomath relay team that qualified for the meet’s 4-by-400 placed fifth with freshman Ariana Boutilier, senior Jazz Choi, sophomore Alex Eckhold and freshman Melea Lattin covering the distance in 4:32.74.

Senior Emery Boutilier had a personal-record height of 9 feet even and placed third in the pole vault. Ingrid Hellesto took fourth in the 1,500 with a PR time of 5:09.89. Philomath had a strong showing in the 800 with Steen’s second, fourth by Lattin (2:29.82) and fifth by Choi (2:35.77). Kramer placed fifth in the discus (105-11) and Morton was sixth in the 200 with a PR (28.17).

Philomath racked up 107.5 points to win the meet by a fair margin over runner-up Cascade, which had 78. The meet, which has qualifying standards, featured athletes from 29 schools.

The Warriors will next compete on Saturday at the Stayton Invitational.

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.