Twenty-five seasons ago, Philomath High’s athletic programs across the board had some pretty good success. During the 1995-96 academic year, both the boys and girls basketball teams placed third in their state tournaments and there had been individual successes in cross-country and track and field. Various other programs were also postseason participants.
The top athletic accomplishment of that school year arguably had to have been Cathy McNeely’s two gold medals at the state track and field meet at Hayward Field in Eugene. The daughter of Ron and Pat McNeely, she won the triple jump and the high jump to earn first-team all-state in the sport.
In the triple jump, McNeely went 37 feet, 7-3/4 inches (wind-aided) to take first place by 13 inches over runner-up Tia Jenkins of Grant Union. McNeely cleared 5-6 to win the high jump by 2 inches over runner-up Laura Gibson of Coquille. She also placed fourth in the long jump at the meet.
McNeely’s performance was actually a repeat of her junior season when she also won state in the high jump (5-6) and triple jump (37-3-3/4). When she was sophomore, she took her first state title with a win in the long jump (17-1-1/2).
McNeely still holds school records in the high jump (5-9), long jump (18-1) and triple jump (37-8-1/4).
McNeely was a multi-sport athlete with the Warriors from volleyball in the fall to basketball in the winter and wrapping up with track and field in the spring.
She was also pretty good in the classroom with Academic All-America status. She went on to Washington State where she competed in basketball and track.