Blake Niemann wrestling
Senior Blake Niemann went 5-0 at the Northwest Duals. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The Philomath High School wrestling team enjoyed a unique experience Wednesday and Thursday at the Northwest Duals in Albany. The Linn County Fairgrounds venue featured 15 mats with more than 30 boys teams and a dozen girls teams competing.

The Warriors had three wrestlers make it through the two-day tournament unbeaten — seniors Joseph Choi, Blake Niemann and Blaise Pindell.

Choi, who wrestles at 285, went 5-0 with all of his victories coming on first-period pins, including one in just 17 seconds over a South Salem opponent. Choi missed the Benton County Championships because of a knee injury and hadn’t competed in two weeks.

Meanwhile, Niemann and Pindell also went 5-0 — each with four pins and a decision. Competing at 126, Niemann opened the tournament with a 6-2 decision over Redmond’s Cutter Woollard and then pinned the rest of his opponents. At 182, Pindell, wrestling for the first time this season, had a 7-1 decision over Cole Langford of Dallas on the first day and recorded pins in his other matches.

The duals tournament opened Wednesday with teams competing in various pools. Philomath was placed in the Jim Phillips pool and the Warriors finished third behind Dallas and Redmond and ahead of Sweet Home’s second team and Cleveland.

One of the teams that Philomath was scheduled to wrestle on the first day, Centennial, was not at the tournament.

“All of the teams there were battling starters not there because of sickness, injury or vacation,” PHS coach Troy Woosley said. “It was just get as many matches as you can basically.”

The Warriors opened with a 62-15 loss to Redmond in the first round of pool play. Niemann’s win by decision and pins by Pindell and Choi highlighted Philomath’s results.

Junior Chase Ringwald won three of his five matches at the Albany tournament. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

In the second round, Philomath took a 47-23 win over Cleveland. Freshman Cameron McConnell, Niemann, junior Chase Ringwald and Pindell all had pins. Hernandez dominated an opponent with a 17-2 technical fall.

Dallas defeated the Warriors, 50-21, in the third round. In that one, Hernandez, Niemann and Choi had wins on falls while Pindell had that 7-1 decision.

The Philomath-Sweet Home 2nd team dual came down to a tiebreaker to determine the winner. The teams were tied 42-42 at the end but the Warriors were declared the winner on criteria that came down to the fewest number of forfeits. Hernandez, Ringwald, sophomore Jared Gerding and Choi had victories on pins.

“Redmond and Dallas, they were in our pool the first day and they were in the championship bracket — they were that good,” Woosley said.

Mostly based on first-day performances, teams were placed in specific brackets for Thursday’s action. The Warriors went into the “third bracket” and finished second behind South Salem and ahead of Harrisburg and Central Linn. Brackets were adjusted so schools did end up wrestling district opponents.

“The second day, it was crazy because we had another starter out,” said Woosley, referring to Caleb Blackburn who sat out because of illness. “We wrestled like crazy against Central Linn — they’re not bad but they had a few guys out, too. We wrestled pretty good against South Salem.”

Philomath opened the bracket competition with a 54-18 rout over Central Linn. Niemann, sophomore Gradin Fairbanks, Pindell and sophomore Jacob Hamlet all won with pins.

South Salem edged the Warriors, 39-36, in a dual that came down to 120 pounds. With Philomath not having a 113-pounder and South Salem having no entrant at 120, the opponent bumped up Aundre Chacon to wrestle Ben Hernandez. Chacon won on a 9-5 decision.

“That kid’s really, really good and it was the best match of the day by far,” Woosley said. “It was good for Ben … that kid’s like top 5 at the 6A level.”

Pindell and Choi defeated their opponents on pins.

Philomath and Harrisburg were scheduled to face off in the final match of Bracket 3 but the Warriors ended up wrestling West Albany instead. In Harrisburg’s 33-21 win over Central Linn, the team was hit with penalties for coaches misconduct and unsportsmanlike conduct.

“They got ejected and he had to pull his whole team in,” Woosley said. “So I went straight to the scorer’s table — we were getting ready to wrestle and it would’ve been a good dual, too — and Casey Horn, the West Albany coach, caught me halfway there and he says, ‘you’re headed to find a match, aren’t you?’ … And he goes, ‘we have a bye this round, wrestle us.’ So we wrestled West Albany.”

The matchup against West Albany turned out to be very competitive at 48-36.

“It was great; our kids wrestled really good against the hometown kids,” he said. “It was 36-36 going into the last two matches and we didn’t have a 13-pounder and they beat us at 106, but it was a really good dual. A couple of our normal starters had wins over some good kids.”

Hernandez, Niemann, Ringwald, Fairbanks and Choi all won their matches on pins.

Pindell wrestled for the first time this season after recovering from a shoulder injury. The team is still missing starter David Griffith, who is working through a knee injury. Woosley hopes that he’ll be able to compete in the team’s next competition on Jan. 8 but if not, almost certainly by Jan. 14-15 for the Oregon Classic in Redmond.

In all, Philomath went 3-4 in the duals as a team. Choi, Niemann and Pindell accounted for 15 of the team’s 27 on-the-mat victories. Hernandez finished with a 4-2 record and Ringwald won three of five. The team’s other five wins were spread out among four other wrestlers — two by Fairbanks and one each by McConnell, Gerding and Hamlet.

“We had a lot of new starters right in the middle of our lineup without a few kids in,” Woosley said. “They got experience and that was good for them.”

Woosley enjoyed the tournament.

“We got invited back already for next year,” he said.

The Warriors will next head to the King of the Hill, a 14-team tournament on Jan. 8 at Pleasant Hill. The Warriors will host a duals meet on Jan. 12 with Newport, Siuslaw and Sweet Home also scheduled to participate.

Northwest Duals
Wednesday, Dec. 29 at Linn County Fairgrounds, Albany

Redmond 62, Philomath 15

106Billy Jackson, Redmond, pinned Cameron McConnell, 0:52
113Ryder Lee, Redmond, won by forfeit
120Logan Hill, Redmond, pinned Ben Hernandez, 2:09
126Blake Niemann, Philomath, dec. Cutter Woollard, 6-2
132Jared Ake, Redmond, maj. dec. Chase Ringwald, 16-7
138Ansen Widing, Redmond, maj. dec. Caleb Blackburn, 10-0
145Junior Downing, Redmond, pinned Gradin Fairbanks, 1:13
152Joseph Downing, Redmond, pinned Ryder Zitlau, 1:25
160Dylan Lee, Redmond, pinned JJ Lewis, 3:21
170Chad Spitz, Redmond, pinned Jared Gerding, 1:23
182Blaise Pindell, Philomath, pinned Deandre McDonald, 2:50
195Logan Willett, Redmond, won by forfeit
220William Witcraft, Redmond, pinned Jacob Hamlet, 0:53
285Joseph Choi, Philomath, pinned Silas Moons, 1:21

Philomath 47, Cleveland 23

106Cameron McConnell, pinned William Kingman, 1:34
113Double forfeit
120Ben Hernandez, Philomath, tech. fall Sean Lee, 17-2
126Blake Niemann, Philomath, pinned Nakoa Flores, 0:49
132Chase Ringwald, Philomath, pinned Max Copus, 3:19
138Caleb Blackburn, Philomath, won by forfeit
145Zion Idica, Cleveland, pinned Gradin Fairbanks, 3:14
152Callum Smeller, Cleveland, pinned Ryder Zitlau, 1:20
160Daniel Passmore, Cleveland, tech. fall JJ Lewis, 15-0
170Connor Smeller, Cleveland, pinned Jared Gerding, 2:47
182Blaise Pindell, Philomath, pinned Jacob Blosser, 0:15
195Double forfeit
220Jacob Hamlet, Philomath, won by forfeit
285Joseph Choi, Philomath, won by forfeit

Dallas 50, Philomath 21

106Polly Olliff, Dallas, maj. dec. Cameron McConnell, 9-0
113Joseph Johnson, Dallas, won by forfeit
120Ben Hernandez, Philomath, pinned Sully Hill, 2:40
126Blake Niemann, Philomath, pinned Caleb Emerson, 0:11
132Jose Romero, Dallas, maj. dec. Chase Ringwald, 15-0
138Isaac Jones, Dallas, pinned Caleb Blackburn, 0:21
145Thomas Talmadge, Dallas, pinned Gradin Fairbanks, 0:18
152Owen Hess, Dallas, pinned Ryder Zitlau, 1:20
160Eli Hess, Dallas, pinned JJ Lewis, 1:34
170Owen Jones, Dallas, pinned Jared Gerding, 1:15
182Blaise Pindell, Philomath, dec. Cole Langford, 7-1
195Double forfeit
220Emiliano Rocha, Dallas, pinned Jacob Hamlet, 1:38
285Joseph Choi, Philomath, pinned Kyron Dodds, 1:13

Philomath 43, Sweet Home 2nd Team 42
(PHS won on tiebreaker)

106Evan Ashcraft, Sweet Home, pinned Cameron McConnell, 0:41
113Emilio Grajiola, Sweet Home, won by forfeit
120Ben Hernandez, Philomath, pinned Alex Reed, 3:24
126Blake Niemann, Philomath, won by forfeit
132Chase Ringwald, Philomath, pinned Laird Pettner, 2:12
138Caleb Blackburn, Philomath, won by forfeit
145Daniel Goodwin, Sweet Home, pinned Gradin Fairbanks, 0:49
152Ezra Martin, Sweet Home, pinned Ryder Zitlau, 0:52
160Ashton Swanson, Sweet Home, pinned JJ Lewis, 1:27
170Jared Gerding, Philomath, pinned Kayo Ebbs, 0:09
182Blaise Pindell, Philomath, won by forfeit
195Dylan Sharp, Sweet Home, won by forfeit
220Bode Hart, Sweet Home, pinned Jacob Hamlet, 3:15
285Joseph Choi, Philomath, pinned Dakota Melkvik, 1:05

Thursday, Dec. 30 at Linn County Fairgrounds, Albany
Philomath 54, Central Linn 18

106Cameron McConnell, Philomath, won by forfeit
113Double forfeit
120Ben Hernandez, Philomath, won by forfeit
126Blake Niemann, Philomath, pinned Hagen Johnson, 2:30
132Chase Ringwald, Philomath, won by forfeit
138Gradin Fairbanks, Philomath, pinned Aaron Rico, 4:30
145Double forfeit
152Ryder Zitlau, Philomath, won by forfeit
160Cole Goracke, Central Linn, pinned JJ Lewis, 1:10
170Chase Merritt, Central Linn, pinned Jared Gerding, 1:07
182Blaise Pindell, Philomath, pinned Jacob Beauchamp, 3:04
195Malachi Hansen, Central Linn, won by forfeit
220Jacob Hamlet, Philomath, pinned Kenny Stutz, 0:40
285Joseph Choi, Philomath, won by forfeit

South Salem 39, Philomath 36

106Cameron McConnell, Philomath, won by forfeit
113Double forfeit
120Aundre Chacon, South Salem, dec. Ben Hernandez, 9-5
126Blake Niemann, Philomath, won by forfeit
132Chase Ringwald, Philomath, won by forfeit
138Rene Cruz, South Salem, pinned Gradin Fairbanks, 6:11
145Zach Richards, South Salem, won by forfeit
152Ryder Zitlau, Philomath, won by forfeit
160Anton Chacon, South Salem, pinned JJ Lewis, 0:30
170Steven Smith, South Salem, pinned Jared Gerding, 3:06
182Blaise Pindell, Philomath, pinned Kline Ethan, 0:52
195Maddox Santana, South Salem, won by forfeit
220Alex Decrozuic, South Salem, pinned Jacob Hamlet, 1:36
285Joseph Choi, Philomath, pinned Braydan Shelton, 0:17

West Albany 48, Philomath 36

106David Cumpiano, West Albany, pinned Cameron McConnell, 1:32
113Marshall Duncan, West Albany, won by forfeit
120Ben Hernandez, Philomath, pinned Ariana Martinez, 1:59
126Blake Niemann, Philomath, pinned Quentin Peterson, 1:11
132Chase Ringwald, Philomath, pinned Jarron Huebner, 3:21
138Gradin Fairbanks, Philomath, pinned Luke Weinhold, 0:46
145Derrek Sossie, West Albany, won by forfeit
152Noah Reese, West Albany, pinned Ryder Zitlau, 1:35
160Julian Gaitland, West Albany, pinned JJ Lewis, 0:23
170Boden Lindberg, West Albany, pinned Jared Gerding, 0:29
182Blaise Pindell, Philomath, won by forfeit
195Joe Wagner, West Albany, won by forfeit
220Kain Adair, West Albany, pinned Jacob Hamlet, 0:19
285Joseph Choi, Philomath, pinned Zachary Richardson, 1:23 has no paywall and to keep it that way, we rely on voluntary memberships. If you’re already a member, thank you for contributing. To join our community as a member or to make a one-time contribution, please CLICK HERE.