A half-dozen Philomath High wrestlers placed among the top six on Saturday at Cascade’s Perry Burlison Invitational. As a team, the Warriors settled for seventh place out of the 21 schools that sent teams to the season-opening tournament.
Competing without a full lineup, Philomath placed in six weight divisions. Senior Ben Hernandez was third with fourth-place finishes going to seniors Caleb Blackburn and Chase Ringwald. Sophomore River Sandstrom earned a fifth-place medal and sixth-place finishes were turned in by senior David Griffith and junior Jacob Hamlet.
At 120, Hernandez pinned his first opponent in 2:35 and then lost a tough one-point decision in the semifinals, 8-7, to eventual runner-up, Alberto Flores of Crook County. Hernandez regrouped to defeat a Scappoose opponent in 1:44. In the third-place match, he won by injury default over Central’s Case Merritt.
Blackburn won four of his five bouts at 126 and placed fourth. Blackburn had a pair of pins and a victory by technical fall. A 9-2 victory over Cascade’s Brody Copple sent Blackburn to the third-place match, which was not staged because the maximum number of matches had been reached. His loss came on a pin in the quarterfinals to Thurston’s Jake Stutesman.
Ringwald had a 2-2 tournament, which was good for fourth place at 132. Ringwald’s wins included a pin in 3:43 and a hard-fought decision, 3-0, over a Siuslaw opponent. His first loss came on a pin in the semifinals against Crook County’s Cash Wells, who would go on to win the tournament. His other loss came in the third-place match against Lebanon’s Seth Wynn on a 6-5 decision.
Sandstrom went 2-2 at 106 with his victories coming over the same wrestler — McNary’s Pedro Schay Vega. They met in the first round with Sandstrom winning on a pin in 3:46 and again in the fifth-place match with the PHS sophomore winning on a technical fall, 21-6.
Griffith’s sixth-place performance at 182 included a 3-2 record. After losing in the first round, Griffith then won three straight — two on first-period pins along with an injury default. In the consolation semifinals, Griffith lost by medical forfeit.
Heavyweight Jacob Hamlet went 3-2 and placed sixth. Hamlet’s victories all came on pins against victims from Central, Tigard and McNary. Hamlet lost in the quarterfinals to a Crook County opponent. McKay’s Michael McKenzie later outlasted Hamlet in the consolation semis on an 8-3 decision.
Overall in the varsity matches, Philomath won 17 of 33.
Crook County took the team title with 219.5 points with Sweet Home a close second at 211 and Thurston third at 203.5.
In the girls’ portion of the tournament, Philomath had three wrestlers competing with freshman Brielle Hagen coming away with sixth place in her weight division.
Hagen went 2-2 at 120 pounds with the victories coming over opponents from McKay and Stayton, the latter coming in the fifth-place match.
Emmalyne Robinson had a win at 155 pounds on a 14-8 decision over a Stayton opponent.
Coming up next for the Warriors will be Friday’s Philomath Invite, a new addition to the schedule this season. Teams expecting to join Philomath are Junction City, Molalla, North Eugene, Springfield and Taft.