PHS cross-country course sign
The Paul Mariman cross-country course at Philomath High School (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The suspension of high school athletics has not been fun for anyone — but especially for the athletes themselves. Many of these kids will only compete at the high school level and those years go by pretty fast. You don’t get them back.

In cross-country, a few athletes have been able to get on the course as members of the Timberhill Harriers club. The club had representation in meets at Tillamook, Sisters and Newport, coach Joe Fulton said.

“I just want them to have the opportunity to keep a feel for competition in case we do have a season this year,” Fulton said.

Several boys have competed, including all of Fulton’s returning varsity runners except for one (who has been dealing with a foot issue).

“The times have been respectable but not great, although the kids did very well in the four-person cross-country relays in Sisters,” Fulton said. “Our two boys teams went 1-2 and our girls’ team also won.”

Called the Halloween Horror Relay, Timberhill’s top team finished in 49 minutes, 8.6 seconds. The runner-up Timberhill squad came in at 49:34.6.

The girls team was first in 1:02.45.1 and had a margin of victory of just over a minute. A team from Crooks County High School was second.

By the way, the boys compete under the name “Loud Crowd” and the girls as “The TARBS,” an acronym for Totally Awesome Radical Babes. Fulton said those nicknames have been in place since the early 1990s.

Brody Bushnell broke 17 minutes at a Hydrangea Ranch Time Trial in Tillamook while Grant Hellesto and Levi Knutson came in under 18. Bushnell’s time was 16:54.20 and it placed him 10th overall among those running. Hellesto had a 17:26.20 and Knutson ran a 17:59.70.

Others running included Sean Cummings (18:08.50), Ben Hernandez (18:27.80) and Jessie Erickson (18:47.90).

The Timberhill Harriers competed with Crescent Valley runners on the roster. Former PHS running standout Tyler Bushnell coaches Crescent Valley and Fulton said the Raiders had been pegged as the favorites to win the 5A state meet (if it ever happens).

Philomath also won an earlier meet in Tillamook as well as a race at South Beach in Newport.

Fulton said six girls have been on the course in at least one race — Ingrid Hellesto, Kaeliegh Houchin, Phoebe Coen, Ally Todd, Audrey Gerding and Jazz Choi.

Fulton said another race is coming up on Dec. 12 on the Olalla Gold Course in Toledo, but it’s uncertain if any local runners will be competing.