Philomath High School senior Ben Hernandez, freshman Riley Barrett and senior David Griffith emerged unscathed from Saturday’s Tod Surmon Mid-Valley Classic on Saturday at West Albany.
The weekend event provided local wrestlers with a tournament-style format sandwiched in between a pair of District 2 double dual dates — two days after Thursday’s home appearance and four days before heading to Sweet Home.
Hernandez and Barrett have been consistent winners this season with a combined record of 55-5 while Griffith is picking up steam after missing several weeks to a shoulder injury. Six other Warriors also came home with placings in the medal-round matches.
Philomath as a team finished third in the final standings with 151 points. West Albany won the tournament by just a half of a point over Sprague (173.5 to 173.0). Thirteen schools sent wrestlers to the event.
Hernandez (27-3) rolled through all three of his opponents at 120 with victories on falls. He defeated South Albany and Newport opponents on first-period pins to reach the championship match. In finals, Hernandez won again by a pin but his opponent, Mountainside’s Joey Evanston, took him into the second period.
Barrett (28-2) also had no serious challenges in his matches in the 132 weight division. Barrett won his first match with a pin in 2:57 and followed with technical fall victories in the semifinals and championship match — both over South Albany wrestlers. In the finale, he beat Ivan Melgar by a 15-0 margin.
Griffith won on pins in his first two matches and worked for a 9-2 decision in the championship match over West Albany’s Noah Reese. Griffith pinned a Sisters opponent in the quarterfinals in 1:34 and then defeated a Sheldon opponent on a pin in 3:42 in the semifinals. The victory over Reese improved Griffith’s record this season to 15-4.
Sophomore Brady Russell reached the championship match at 195 pounds and settled for second with a loss to Central’s Jose Lugo. Russell (13-13) reached the finale after just one win — the bracket had only four entrants — with a pin in 1:07 over a South Albany opponent.
The tournament used a round-robin format at 106 pounds with five wrestlers in the division. PHS sophomore River Sandstrom went 2-2 with wins coming on pins over athletes from South Albany and Sprague. Sandstrom (20-6) lost a tough 6-4 decision against a West Albany opponent.
Senior Caleb Blackburn won three of four matches and placed third overall at 126 pounds. Blackburn opened with wins over Central and Corvallis wrestlers — both on pins. In the semifinals, a Southridge opponent beat Blackburn (24-3) on a 7-1 decision. He regrouped to win the third-place match over West Albany’s Blake Linton on a 15-3 major decision.
Senior Chase Ringwald and freshman Porter Compton both placed at 138 pounds. Ringwald reached the semifinals with a 6-1 decision in his first match before losing on a close 11-7 decision to a Sprague wrestler. In the third-place bout, Ringwald (20-8) lost on another close decision, 5-2. Ringwald was designated as the point-scoring entry at the weight division.
Compton won his first-round match over a Corvallis wrestler and then lost in the quarterfinals to a Sprague opponent, 7-6, in a match that went to the ultimate tie-breaker format. Compton (25-11) worked his way back through the consolation bracket for victories over Southridge and Central opponents and in the fifth-place match, defeated a South Albany wrestler on a 7-0 decision.
Junior Gradin Fairbanks placed sixth at the tournament in the 152 division. Fairbanks (23-13) won his first match over a South Albany wrestler on a major decision but lost in the quarterfinals against a Shelton opponent. He then took wins in consolations over opponents from West Albany and Mountainside on a pin and major decision before coming up short in the fifth-place match against a Corvallis foe on a 10-6 decision.
Among the other team results, sophomore JJ Lewis had a couple of wins at 160 and freshman Lukas Hernandez had a win in his first match at 126.
PHS girls 6th with 4 wrestlers
The Warriors finished sixth out of a dozen schools that sent wrestlers to the girls side of the tournament. West Albany easily won with 144 points with Newport a distant second at 73 and Newport third at 69, followed by Corvallis (51), South Albany (51) and Philomath (36).
Three of Philomath’s four wrestlers posted victories with two placing third and another taking fourth.
Junior Ellie Morton at 105 pounds finished 1-2 for third place in a round-robin format with four wrestlers. Morton’s victory came over a Sheldon opponent with a pin in 1:04.
Freshman Brielle Hagen competed at 115 pounds and also had a 1-2 record on the day. Also in a four-wrestler round-robin format, Hagen’s win came on a disqualification over an opponent from South Albany.
Sophomore Sadie Francis placed fourth with a 1-2 record at 120 pounds. Competing in a traditional-style bracket, Francis won her first match over a Corvallis opponent on a pin in 33 seconds. She lost in the semifinals to a West Albany opponent and then to a Sheldon opponent in the third-place match.