Three PHS wrestlers win state titles, team places 4th overall

Senior Connar Kohn, junior Blaise Pindell and sophomore Ben Hernandez all won state titles in their weight divisions and Philomath High as a team placed fourth following the final rounds Saturday at the Oregon Wrestling Association 4A State Championships at Cascade High School.

Connar Kohn
Connar Kohn: State champion at 220 pounds (Photo by Eric Niemann)

Kohn completed a perfect run through this pandemic-impacted season with a 25-0 record. Competing at 220 pounds, the results indicate that he was pretty much unchallenged on his way to the title. Kohn pinned all four of his opponents in the first period — the longest going 1:35 in the championship bout against Siuslaw’s Christian Newlan.

Pindell took first place at 170 pounds with a 6-0 decision over Elmira’s Ayden Wolgamott in the finale. Pindell won his three earlier bouts all on pins. Pindell compiled a record of 22-2 this season.

Blaise Pindell
Blaise Pindell: State champion at 170 pounds (Photo by Eric Niemann)

Hernandez was the champion at 113 pounds with the first-place bout ending in a hard-fought pin in 5:04 over Henley’s Dylan Clark. Hernandez had his most competitive match in the quarterfinals with a 4-1 decision over Tillamook’s Joshua Perdew. He won his other two bouts on pins and ended the season with a 21-3 record.

Ben Hernandez
State champion at 113 pounds (Photo by Eric Niemann)

Senior Issiah Blackburn and sophomore Blake Niemann also took positions on the medal stand with fourth-place finishes in their respective weight divisions.

Blackburn at 195 opened with quick pins over his first two opponents but lost on a 7-5 sudden victory in the semifinals against Estacada’s Jackson Turner, an opponent he had defeated on a major decision at home dual earlier this month. He regrouped in the consolation semifinals for another quick pin before falling in the third-place match to Mazama’s Ethan Richards. Blackburn finished the season at 23-3.

At 120, Niemann had a second-period pin in the first round but lost to nemesis Jake Sieminski of Sweet Home in the quarterfinals. Niemann worked his way into the medal round with three straight victories in consolations. His most competitive match came in a 7-6 decision over Estacada’s Landin Vittetoe. In the third-place match, La Grande’s Kai Carson got the win and Niemann’s season ended with a 22-5 record.

Philomath’s other state qualifiers all won at least one match. Sophomore Caleb Blackburn went 2-2 with a tough consolation round loss to Sweet Home’s Kyle Watkins on a tiebreaker. Junior Joseph Choi also went 2-2, both of his victories coming on pins. Sophomore David Griffith had one win in a hard-fought 2-1 decision over Sisters’ Carson Brown.

In the team standings, Sweet Home easily took the team title with 262 points. La Grande finished second at 167, followed by Tillamook (147), Philomath (124) and Estacada (122) to round out the top five. Twenty-nine schools had qualifiers in the tournament.


OWA 4A State Championship
Friday, June 25-Saturday, June 26, at Cascade HS, Turner
Team Scoring
1, Sweet Home 262; 2, La Grande 167; 3, Tillamook 147; 4, Philomath 124; 5, Estacada 122; 6, Siuslaw 101; 7, Junction City 99; 8, Banks 95; 8, Mazama 95; 10, Stayton 73; 11, Hidden Valley 67; 12, Baker 66; 13, Madras 43; 14, Cascade 41; 15, Woodburn 38.5; 16, Ontario 34.5; 17, Elmira 33; 17, Henley 33; 19, North Marion 32; 20, Molalla 31; 21, Corbett 24; 22, Seaside 22; 23, Sisters 20; 24, McLoughlin 17; 25, Gladstone 16; 26, Marshfield 13; 27, Phoenix 8; 28, North Valley 5; 29, Klamath Union 3.
PHS Results
113: Ben Hernandez (4-0, 1st place)
OPPONENTResultTime/Pts
Josh Gutierrez, WoodburnW-Pin0:58
Joshua Perdew, TillamookW-Dec4-1
Ayden Flanagan, North MarionW-Dec5-3
Dylan Clark, HenleyW-Pin5:04
120: Blake Niemann (4-2, 4th place)
OPPONENTResultTime/Pts
Ethan Haertel, TillamookW-Pin3:21
Jake Sieminski, Sweet HomeL-TF16-0
Riley Ore, HenleyW-Pin1:33
Landin Vittetoe, EstacadaW-Dec7-6
Treyson Smith, Sweet HomeW-Maj Dec12-2
Kai Carson, La GrandeL-Maj Dec11-2
126: Caleb Blackburn (2-2)
OPPONENTResultTime/Pts
Cohen Schleich, EstacadaW-Dec9-6
Mauro Michel, StaytonL-Pin1:15
Rowdy Lewis, MarshfieldW-Pin3:33
Kyle Watkins, Sweet HomeL-Dec4-2 (TB)
152: David Griffith (1-2)
OPPONENTResultTime/Pts
Kaden Watkins, EstacadaL-Pin1:46
Carson Brown, SistersW-Dec2-1
Braxton Bisenius, La GrandeL-Dec1-0
170: Blaise Pindell (4-0, 1st place)
OPPONENTResultTime/Pts
Seth Wright, MazamaW-Pin1:04
Cole Shafer, La GrandeW-Pin3:34
Kaden Zajic, Sweet HomeW-Pin1:44
Ayden Wolgamott, ElmiraW-Dec6-0
195: Issiah Blackburn (3-2, 4th place)
OPPONENTResultTime/Pts
Seth McLane, MazamaW-Pin0:31
William Barrett, HenleyW-Pin0:20
Jackson Turner, EstacadaL-Dec7-5 (SV)
Rafael Martinez, TillamookW-Pin0:34
Ethan Richards, MazamaL-Pin3:51
220: Connar Kohn (4-0, 1st place)
OPPONENTResultTime/Pts
Hayden Murphy, MarshfieldW-Pin1:00
Mishael Mauck, BanksW-Pin1:37
Tanner Wells, McLoughlinW-Pin0:43
Christian Newlan, SiuslawW-Pin1:35
285: Joseph Choi (2-2)
OPPONENTResultTime/Pts
Isaac Pena, MazamaL-Dec7-3
Jeremiah Stanley, SeasideW-Pin0:52
Colby Gazeley, Sweet HomeW-Pin4:41
Devin Gotchall, EstacadaLossDQ

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