Philomath High's boys and girls distance runners scored a combined 38 team points at last week's state meet. Here, Ana Candanoza, right, and Adele Beckstead run their way to second and third, respectively, in the 3,000. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath High’s been buzzing this week with a series of spirit-themed days, which has included hippies or Hollywood get-ups on Tuesday, denim on Wednesday and tropical/Hawaiian wear on Thursday. Class colors will be the focus on Friday.

Although that sounds like fun, the overall spirit of the student body had to be intensified with Philomath High’s state championship in girls track and field the previous weekend. The Warriors won the title in impressive fashion with 90 points to beat out runner-up La Grande by a pretty good margin. It was the second straight state title for the program.

My suggestion that the state title helped in the school spirit category is because track and field was such a popular sport among students this spring. Back when I did a preview story, head coach Joe Fulton said he had 93 kids in the program — which is just incredible for a school the size of Philomath. I haven’t asked Joe if they all stuck with it throughout the spring but I do know that a few key athletes joined after the season had started.

To give you an idea of Philomath’s presence at the state meet, Fulton said every area of the program scored points. Here’s a rundown:

  • Distance runners (800, 1,500, 3,000) — 38 points
  • Sprinters (100, 200, 400) — 32 points
  • Relays (4-by-100 and 4-by-400) — 19 points with the scoring teams including six sprinters, two distance runners, one jumper and one hurdler
  • Horizontal jumps (long and triple) — 15 points
  • High Jump — 13 points
  • Hurdles — Eight points
  • Throws — Six points
  • Pole vault — Two points

Fulton also passed on to me an interesting statistical chart compiled by his college roommate, Marv Pace, who works for the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Pace combined the boys and girls scoring for all 214 schools that had points in this year’s track and field championships at all levels.

Class 5A Summit was the No. 1 school with 218 points — 118.5 points by the boys and 99 for the girls (very, very impressive numbers). Philomath was the No. 2 team overall and Class 4A leader with 133 points — 90 by the girls and 43 by the boys.

The second-highest team out of 4A was Marshfield in eighth with 95.5 points (70.5 for the boys, 25 for the girls).

Girls basketball coaches Ben Silva, from left, John Hanson and Malori Ambrose. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

PHS girls basketball camp

Let’s turn to hoops and Coach Ben Silva’s announcement of a girls basketball camp that will be offered at Philomath High on June 21-23.

The three-day camp, which will be led by high school coaches and players, will focus on skill development and be held in the PHS gymnasiums on those days from 9 a.m.-noon.

Girls who will be in the third through eighth grades this coming academic year are invited to participate. The cost is $60.

Click here for an event flyer and camp registration form that can be printed out and turned in. Or, the forms can be picked up at Philomath Elementary, Philomath Middle School, Philomath High School or Philomath Youth Activities Club.

For those with questions, shoot an email to the coach at

PHS coach Joe Fulton shared some interesting stats from the state track meet and also earned an OACA Coach of the Year Award. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Fulton earns coaching award

Philomath High School coach Joe Fulton earned an Oregon Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year Award for his work with the Warriors’ girls track and field program.

Fulton accepted the honor Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene on the same evening that Philomath won the state title at nearby Hayward Field. He had to hustle to the OACA Awards Banquet after celebrating with his team Saturday. Although he missed the beginning of the event, he was there in time to accept the award.

The state title won by the Warriors last weekend was their sixth in program history, fourth under Fulton and second straight. Philomath’s girls took top honors in 1995, 2010, 2022 and 2023 with Fulton leading the program.

Fulton has been working with PHS track and field athletes dating all the way back to 1981. He’s been the head coach for 28 years and along with the state titles with the girls, he also coached the boys to the championship in 2011.

As many of you know, he’s also the cross-country coach and has been leading that program for 27 years. The Warriors won state titles under Fulton in that sport in 2003 and 2010 with the boys and 2001 and 2003 with the girls.

Impressive numbers, Chief.

(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at

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.