PHS junior Silas Pittman earned fall-Oregon West Conference first-team recognition. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath High School’s Silas Pittman earned a spot on the all-Oregon West Conference first team and two teammates received recognition as well on the second team and honorable mention list.

Pittman, a junior, scored 11 goals for the Warriors this fall and also had six assists. In an Oct. 19 victory over Sweet Home, Pittman had a hat trick while scoring the game’s first three goals.

Warriors senior Favian Aceves was included on the all-OWC second team. Freshman Jacob Hernandez received honorable mention recognition.

The Warriors finished 4-6 in a very tough Oregon West Conference and ended up 4-9 overall. 

This past weekend in Hillsboro, Oregon West Conference runner-up Newport won the 4A state title with a 2-1 overtime win over Cottage Grove. The Cubs beat North Marion, which finished third in the OWC in the semifinals, 3-1, in overtime. Estacada upset conference champion Stayton in the first round.

Stayton’s Chris Shields earned the Coach of the Year award. North Marion senior Aden Carrillo was the Player of the Year. Stayton, Newport and North Marion each had three players on the first team with Philomath and Sweet Home filling the other two spots.

The all-conference teams for girls soccer and football were published last week.

In cross-country, the top 14 placewinners in the OWC meet earn recognition — the top seven on the first team and the second seven on the second team. Warrior girls that earned first-team status were sophomore Ana Candanoza, junior Adele Beckstead, sophomore Lucy King and junior Melea Lattin. Second-teamers were junior Hallie Morrison, junior Kateri Pindell and junior Hanna McDaniel.

Beckstead, Candanoza and Lattin made all-state second team based on results at the Nov. 4 state meet.

All-conference boys runners were sophomore Lukas Hernandez, sophomore Leo Pausch and senior Simon King on the first team. Sophomore Mason Stevens, junior JJ Lewis, freshman Jacob Hernandez and freshman Galen Murch earned inclusion on the second team.

Lukas Hernandez also earned second-team all-state.

Blake Ecker’s boys basketball team finished as the 4A state runner-up last season and is among the winter sports programs getting started with official practices this week. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Winter sports teams begin practice

Philomath High’s boys and girls basketball teams could begin official practices Monday. Both Blake Ecker for the boys and Ben Silva for the girls return as head coaches. Ecker and Silva have a combined three state titles between them.

The boys, last year’s 4A runner-up to Cascade, appeared to have an exceptional number of athletes out for the team. The Warriors are scheduled to host their annual pie auction fundraiser on Tuesday, Nov. 21, an evening when players at all levels take the floor to scrimmage.

Philomath opens the season Dec. 2 at Junction City, a team that went 26-3 and reached the state semifinals before settling for third. The Warriors and Tigers finished 1-2 in the final 4A rankings. Philomath beat Junction City, 59-33, in last year’s season opener.

The home opener follows on Dec. 5 against Class 5A South Albany. The Warriors will host a tournament Dec. 27-28 with games against Sutherlin, Scappoose and Marist Catholic. The conference opener is set for Jan. 19 at home against Newport.

Ecker enters the season without his longtime assistant and JV coach Eddie Van Vlack, who made the decision to step away from coaching. Trey Ecker moves up to fill that role and Aaron Schermerhorn returns as the JV2 coach.

The PHS girls are coming off a 19-8 season that started a little slow and picked up momentum with each passing week. The Warriors finished second in the Oregon West and entered the postseason as the No. 10 seed. After eliminating Marist in the first round, the Warriors advanced to the tournament at Forest Grove. Philomath lost to Gladstone in the quarterfinals but regrouped to beat Crook County and Henley to earn a fourth-place trophy.

The girls have a schedule that mirrors the boys with the season opener Dec. 2 at Junction City and the home opener Dec. 5 against South Albany. Philomath’s home tournament from Dec. 27-29 will also feature girls’ brackets with the Warriors scheduled to face Sutherlin, Scappoose and Marist Catholic.

The Oregon West opener is scheduled for Jan. 19 against Newport.

Silva’s assistant coaching staff has changed this season with John Hanson no longer with the program and Steve Bennett moving into that position, which includes head coach of the JV squad. Malori Ambrose returns as an assistant and will lead the JV2 team.

Philomath High’s wrestling team opens the season Dec. 2 at a tournament hosted by Cascade. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Wrestling and swimming have also started practices. Longtime wrestling coach Troy Woosley returns to lead the mat program and Iliana Kaiser is back for a second season as head coach of the swim teams.

The wrestling team opens the season Dec. 2 at the Perry Burlison Wrestling Classic at Cascade, a tournament that the Warriors have participated in for years. The Warriors wrestle at home for the first time Dec. 8 with North Eugene, Springfield and Summit in town.

Woosley will be assisted this season by Alexander Eikelenboom, Blake Woosley, Joey Howell, James Kohn, Jeremy French and Jeremy Smith.

The swim team’s season opener is scheduled for Dec. 6 at Clemens Community Pool for a three-way meet that includes Sisters and Crosshill Christian. A new event that appears on the team’s schedule this season is a Jan. 19 appearance in an invitational at Marist Catholic.

Kaiser’s coaching staff this season includes former PHS swimmer Ophelia Katsikis.

The Philomath News plans to publish previews on all of the fall sports teams in late November and early December prior to their season openers.

(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.

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