Philomath High School campus
Philomath High programs have won 34 OSAA-sanctioned state championships. (File photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs)

In the official state championships list published by the Oregon School Activities Association, Philomath High teams have 34 state titles. From the first championship in 1972 by the boys track and field team to the 2019 boys cross-country title team, it’s been a solid stretch of success for local students and coaches.

Here’s a short Q-and-A about PHS team titles.

Q: Who coached Philomath’s first state title team in 1972?

A: Larry Turner was the head coach of the Warriors’ squad. Philomath won the Class AA title by the closest of margins with 43 points to Gladstone’s 42. PHS had several individuals that placed high but the only champion turned out to be Harvey Miller in the 880-yard run with a time of 1:58.26.

Q: What about the 1939 Philomath High state title in football?

A: Yes, the banner is hanging from the Warriors gym and the school did stake claim to the “B” championship in 1939. The OSAA had not yet been organized and does not recognize champions prior to 1943, so the 1972 track title was the first OSAA-sanctioned championship. For the record, Philomath defeated Arlington, 7-6. Don Davis scored the team’s touchdown on a short run and Bud Blanchard kicked the extra point for the winning margin.

Q: Which program has won the most team championships?

A: Girls cross-country has by far won the most team titles for Philomath High. The Warrior girls had an incredible run from 1984 to 1990 with six state titles in seven years. The program added championships to the record in 2001 and 2003.

Q: What other programs have won multiple titles?

A: Besides girls cross-country, Philomath High’s boys cross-country and girls track and field teams have each won four titles. Boys basketball and girls basketball each has three championships. And two titles have been won by band, boys track and field and dance.

Q: Are there any current programs that have not won a state team title?

A: Yes, the Warriors have not won state team titles in boys swimming, girls swimming, cheerleading, softball, boys tennis and girls tennis. The most recent programs to earn their first titles occurred in 2017 in choir and 2012 in boys soccer.

Q: In what classification has the majority of Philomath High’s state titles occurred?

A: It’s a fairly even split between AA, 3A and 4A. But PHS won most of its championships in Class 3A at 12. That number includes a 3A Large title earned by the dance program in 1996. Eleven titles were won in Class AA and 10 in the current Class 4A. The other title came in a 4A/3A/2A/1A girls soccer state tournament in 2008.

Q: How do the number of state titles won break down by decade?

A: Philomath won one state title in the 1970s, nine in the 1980s, eight in the 1990s, six in the 2000s and 10 in the 2010s.

Q: How does Philomath size up with other schools in the current Oregon West Conference?

A: It’s close but Stayton now has a one-title edge over Philomath among the current members of the OWC. The list for the Eagles includes 17 of its 35 championships won by their dominant dance program. Philomath has 34, followed by Sweet Home (28), Cascade (21), Woodburn (19), Sisters (18) and Newport (16).

I could go on and on with fascinating numbers out of the title list, but I’ll stop here. I’ll end this blog with the complete state champion list arranged by sport:

• Girls cross-country (8): 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2001, 2003

• Boys cross-country (4): 1993, 2003, 2010, 2019

• Girls track and field (4): 1990, 1991, 1995, 2010

• Boys basketball (3): 2002, 2014, 2016

• Girls basketball (3): 1986, 1987, 2000

• Band/orchestra (2): 2018, 2019

• Boys track and field (2): 1972, 2011

• Dance (2): 1995, 1996

• Boys soccer (1): 2012

• Choir (1): 2017

• Girls soccer (1): 2008

• Football (1): 1988

• Volleyball (1): 1986

• Wrestling (1): 1994