Now in his 16th year coaching the Philomath High School wrestling program, Troy Woosley had never seen the team success that he witnessed on Thursday. Competing in the 4A Special District 2 meet in Sweet Home, the Warriors crowned four individual champions, advanced seven wrestlers to finals and qualified nine for next week’s state tournament.
Not a bad day.
“We had a phenomenal day,” Woosley said. “We had really, really good semis — and those are the big ones because if you win there, you’re in the finals. Seven made finals … I’ve never had that many kids making finals, so that’s a big step not only for them but for state.”
Sophomore Ben Hernandez, junior Blaise Pindell, senior Issiah Blackburn, senior Connar Kohn and junior Joseph Choi all advanced to championship matches in their respective weight divisions on pins.
The two biggest moments from Philomath High’s perspective in the semis were victories pulled off by junior Blake Niemann and sophomore Caleb Blackburn.
“Both were over seasoned Sweet Home kids,” Woosley said. “Big wins right there.”
Niemann defeated Treyson Smith on a 4-2 decision and Blackburn won on a major decision, 10-2, over Kyle Watkins.
“We won four of seven in the finals,” he added. “We had more finalists than anyone there.”
Hernandez, competing at 113 pounds, received byes directly into the semifinals and in the championship bout, pinned Stayton’s Ben Adams in 4:52.
Pindell went up against Elmira’s Ayden Wolgamott in the 170-pound finale and won on a 5-0 decision. Pindell had also advanced straight into the semifinals with byes past the first round and quarterfinals. Pindell earned the “Most Outstanding Wrestler” award.
Issiah Blackburn won the 195-pound division with a pin in just 43 seconds over Cascade’s Andrew Snyder. Blackburn pinned all three of his opponents. On a side note in that weight division, second-seeded Johnny Silva of Stayton was unable to go and had to scratch before the day’s action to eliminate the possibility of a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown.
At 220 pounds, senior Connar Kohn kept his perfect season intact with first-period pins in all three of his matches. In the finals, Kohn beat Siuslaw’s Christian Newlan in 1:58.
“He’s dominating, just dominating,” Woosley said about Kohn, whose record now stands at 21-0. “He’s on a different page.”
Niemann at 120, Caleb Blackburn at 126 and Choi at 285 had to settle for runner-up finishes.
Others qualifying for state included sophomores David Griffith at 152 and Chase Ringwald at 132. Griffith won his third-place match over Stayton’s Jason Ritchie with a pin in 3:12 and was the only PHS athlete to take the mat for the maximum five times. Ringwald lost in his third-place match but in the fourth-place matchup, won by no contest over Cascade’s Tayton Miller, who he had beaten 5-3 earlier in the day.
Sweet Home, which has a level of team depth that cannot be matched, won the team title with 429.5 points. Philomath was a solid runner-up with 203 points, easily outdistancing third-place Siuslaw with 162.5.
Woosley earned the region’s Coach of the Year honor in a vote of his peers.
Philomath’s nine qualifiers will move on to the 4A tournament, which is scheduled for June 18-19 at Cascade High School. The top four wrestlers from four 4A regions are advancing to the tournament with a 16-man bracket in each division.
4A Special District 2 Championships
Thursday, June 17, at Sweet Home HS
|1, Sweet Home 429.5; 2, Philomath 203; 3, Siuslaw 162.5; 4, Cascade 151; 5, Junction City 137.5; 6, Elmira 124; 7, Stayton 117; 8, Newport 10.|
113: Ben Hernandez (2-0, 1st)
|Jayce Miller, Sweet Home||W-Pin||0:24|
|Ben Adams, Stayton||W-Pin||4:52|
120: Blake Niemann (2-1, 2nd)
|Breylon Peterson, Elmira||W-Pin||0:27|
|Treyson Smith, Sweet Home||W-Dec||4-2|
|Jake Sieminski, Sweet Home||L-TF||15-0 (4:00)|
126: Caleb Blackburn (2-1, 2nd)
|Marcos Medina, Cascade||W-Pin||0:41|
|Kyle Watkins, Sweet Home||W-Maj Dec||10-2|
|Mauro Michel, Stayton||L-Pin||2:56|
132: Chase Ringwald (3-2, 4th)
|William Walton, Elmira||W-Dec||6-2|
|Evan Potter, Junction City||L-Pin||1:05|
|Tayton Miller, Cascade||W-Dec||5-3|
|Christian Gregory, Sweet Home||L-Pin||1:38|
|Tayton Miller, Cascade||W||No contest|
138: Gradin Fairbanks (0-2, 8th)
|Ian Drago, Elmira||L-Pin||3:56|
|Tanner McMahon, Sweet Home||L-Pin||0:22|
152: David Griffth (4-1, 3rd)
|James Osborne, Junction City||W-Pin||1:08|
|Jason Ritchie, Stayton||W-Pin||3:25|
|Tristan Spencer, Sweet Home||L-Pin||1:05|
|Ruben Fox, Elmira||W-Pin||2:44|
|Jason Ritchie, Stayton||W-Pin||3:12|
170: Blaise Pindell (2-0, 1st)
|Mason Buss, Siuslaw||W-Pin||2:42|
|Ayden Wolgamott, Elmira||W-Dec||5-0|
195: Issiah Blackburn (3-0, 1st)
|Jonathan Wiese, Newport||W-Pin||2:37|
|David Steagall, Sweet Home||W-Pin||3:49|
|Andrew Snyder, Cascade||W-Pin||0:43|
220: Connar Kohn (3-0, 1st)
|Dakota Melkvik, Sweet Home||W-Pin||0:15|
|JC Gentry, Siuslaw||W-Pin||1:14|
|Christian Newlan, Siuslaw||W-Pin||1:58|
285: Joseph Choi (2-1, 2nd)
|Sebastian Palm, Newport||W-Pin||1:05|
|Colby Gazeley, Sweet Home||W-Pin||1:29|
|Bryer Moore, Junction City||L-Pin||2:58|