Philomath High School athletics seem to be in a pretty good place.
Over the past 12 months, the Warriors won state titles in boys soccer and girls tennis, settled for runner-up in girls basketball and boys cross-country, and had individual champions in wrestling and track and field.
In the fall, every one of Philomath High’s teams qualified for the state playoffs. As mentioned, boys soccer took the top prize, volleyball made a remarkable late-season push to finish third at the state tournament, the boys and girls cross-country teams both had full squads at state despite a few challenges, the girls soccer team reached the 4A quarterfinals and the football team qualified for state for the first time since 2015.
Then there was the crazy stretch from February to June that crammed all sports into condensed seasons based on Oregon School Activities Association guidelines. Philomath had its share of success over those five months in postseason tournaments and meets arranged by athletic directors. The unique circumstances had forced the OSAA to cancel any official postseason events, so the girls tennis team title and those wrestling and track victories don’t go down in the record books.
Yes, a strange 12 months to be sure but also very memorable with what PHS athletes were able to accomplish. Here, then, are the top 10 sports stories of 2021 as chosen by the Philomath News.
Standing in front of the net on the east end of Liberty High’s pitch on Nov. 13, Philomath’s junior goalkeeper, Teddy Benbow, noticed Hidden Valley senior Theo Bergman staring at the opposite side of the goal.
The Class 4A boys soccer championship game had come down to penalty kicks with the score tied 1-1 through regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods. Philomath’s Mark Grimmer, Mateo Candanoza and Silas Pittman each converted on their attempts and Hidden Valley’s Joaquin Martinez and Caleb Richter were successful on theirs as well.
But Bergman’s shot didn’t go as planned with Benbow diving to his left for the save.
“Just have your mind made up as they’re about to hit it … don’t second-guess yourself,” Benbow said about his strategy, based on advice from former Oregon State goalkeeper Evan Munn, an assistant with PHS this season. “On the first couple of ones, I got frozen which didn’t help, but the boys all made theirs to set me up.”
Chase Ringwald converted with a shot into the upper right side of the goal for a 4-2 advantage. On the next shot, Hidden Valley stayed alive when Ronan Hodge powered the ball in despite Benbow getting a hand on it. And then Benbow himself clinched the win for the Warriors by going lower left.
The official score in the books goes down as 2-1 with the Warriors winning on PKs, 5-3.
Benbow ran 20 yards downfield and went into a celebratory slide just before he was mobbed by teammates in a state championship dogpile.
The state title was the program’s first since 2012 and capped an incredible 17-1 season. Philomath served notice that it was a legitimate contender on Sept. 30 when the Warriors won 1-0 at then-No. 1 Stayton in what could be called one of the biggest victories in the program’s history. From there, the Warriors survived some close calls, dropped the rematch at home against Stayton but regrouped for an impressive postseason run with wins over Estacada, McLoughlin and North Marion to set up the 4A finale against Hidden Valley.
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 on June 26 at the Oregon Wrestling Association 4A State Championships at Cascade High School.
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.
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.
Senior Issiah Blackburn and sophomore Blake Niemann also took positions on the medal stand with fourth-place finishes in their respective weight divisions.
Senior Mark Grimmer pulled off a feat that may never be seen again in Philomath High soccer history. Incredibly, he scored in all 18 Warrior games this season.
“Over his four years, he has developed almost a disturbed pursuit of scoring goals — you know what I mean?” Philomath High School head coach Dave Ellis said. “I’ve never had a player in all of my years of coaching who was so committed to scoring … just nothing would stop him.”
Grimmer earned the Oregon West Conference’s Player of the Year honor and was later named the Class 4A Player of the Year.
“I don’t think I’ve had a player have a better year at any level,” Ellis said.
Grimmer, who finished this fall with 30 goals in all, has been a standout all four of his years in high school. Ellis limited Grimmer to junior varsity over the first two games of his freshman year with a roster loaded with seniors.
“I knew he was good but it became apparent that he provided a goal threat for us we didn’t have on varsity,” Ellis said. “By his fourth or fifth game, he was a regular starter.”
Grimmer’s goal-scoring streak this past fall was certainly unique. As the season wore on, everybody began to wonder when — not if — but when he would find the net, especially in the tight games.
“I can’t believe that’s happened many times, if ever,” Ellis said. “They haven’t kept records (at PHS) but he’s got to have the season goal record at Philomath, he’s got to have the record for scoring in consecutive games.”
There were a lot of questions in late 2020 and early 2021 about the status of high school athletics in Oregon. Even in late January, Philomath High officials were unsure about how things would pan out to get athletes back in action.
The Oregon School Activities Association settled on Feb. 22 for the first of three competitive “seasons” with the traditional falls sports up first.
During a report to the Philomath School Board on Jan. 25, then-PHS Principal Mike Bussard said he knows the issue with athletics is important to the community, but he added: “If you’re as confused about athletics and the optics of athletics — we are as well. Quite frankly, I think the OSAA is as well.”
A week later, Philomath moved forward with plans to open the first official practices as allowed by the OSAA. Football was allowed to begin organized practices on Feb. 8. The other “fall sports” — cross-country, soccer and volleyball — could begin voluntary workouts on Feb. 8 but their official practices would not begin until Feb. 22.
The football program received big news in the second week of February that the Oregon Health Authority would revise its guidance for outdoor contact sports. As a result, restrictions would be eased for schools that have returned to at least limited in-person learning. PHS was largely in distance learning at the time, but the district had been offering limited in-person instruction.
“It opens the door for playing full-contact regular football,” then-PHS football coach Tony Matta said. “They don’t have the specifics of what the protocols will look like yet but we know that it opens the door.”
The Philomath High School girls tennis team’s top singles player and top doubles team both made the finals in the May 18 4A State Showcase in Eugene and even though both came up short and settled for runner-up finishes, the Warriors scored just enough as a team to win the program’s first-ever state team title.
Philomath and Marist Catholic shared the right to be called No. 1 with 12 points each in the final standings.
Freshman Bailey Bell started the day with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Marist senior Ellie Christian in the semifinals. But in the championship match, she dropped a 6-0, 6-1 decision to Klamath Union’s Patricia Dougherty in an all-freshman state finale.
Chloe Jurva and Atira Fairbanks, both seniors, had a significant victory in the semifinals by defeating top-seeded Chloe Kincade and Courtney Silbernagel of Junction City, 7-5, 6-3. The fourth-seeded Warriors pair then lost a heartbreaker in a finals matchup against second-seeded seniors Hannah Nelson and Alyssa Beatty of Molalla, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6.
Later, because the state title was not official in the eyes of the OSAA, PHS administration said it had chosen to not hang a state championship banner in the gymnasium, which created a controversy that went all the way to the School Board.
6. State runner-up finishes for boys and girls in cross-country
In the season-opening meet back in early March in Florence, the Philomath High School’s boys cross-country team got a pretty good look at Siuslaw. From those results and in the following weeks, it became obvious that those two schools would be battling again to stake claim as the best team in the state.
The showdown materialized April 10 at the Class 4A state meet on a fast course at Marist Catholic High School in Eugene. Philomath sophomore Brody Bushnell placed seventh individually and the Warriors had five all-state performances but Siuslaw had two much fire power up top with three runners in the top 15. The final team standings, the Vikings finished with 70 points to win it with Philomath in second with 77.
The Philomath’s girls cross-country team placed seventh and Ingrid Hellesto was the team’s top individual with 10th place.
In the fall, the boys and girls teams swept the Oregon West Conference team titles. The boys had a 1-2-3 finish individually with Mateo Candanoza, Bushnell and Ben Hernandez. The girls’ top runner pulled out with a leg injury and Hellesto was the team’s top finisher in third.
Then came the painfully close state meet for the girls on Nov. 6. As Philomath High’s runners crossed the finish line on that Saturday in Eugene, coach Joe Fulton tried to calculate team scores. Siuslaw, Philomath and Marist were all in the running for the top trophy and it was going to be close.
“For a while there, I thought we had it because they were showing scores and it looked like we were at least tied with Siuslaw, which means we would have beat them because our sixth runner beat their sixth runner,” Fulton said. “But then once all of the results were in, they scored it and we lost by one.”
Siuslaw 85, Philomath 86.
“The girls, they don’t have anything to be ashamed of,” Fulton added. “They raced their hearts out. Every one of them had a good race and they’re all excited about coming back next year and winning the whole thing.”
Philomath freshman Adele Beckstead was the team’s top finisher with seventh in 20:13.20 and junior Ingrid Hellesto placed 10th in 20:25.80.
For the boys, they would’ve challenged for the state runner-up trophy with a healthy and full varsity roster. But even with the squad missing its No. 1 and No. 5 runners, the team still performed well enough for seventh out of the dozen teams that qualified. Individually, Mateo Candanoza placed sixth.
In a battle of Class 4A girls basketball titans, the outcome could not be decided in the regulation 32 minutes. It made sense that the two schools would need extra time to crown a champion. After all, take a look at the tale of the tape heading into the 4A Showcase Final 8 Tournament’s championship game, which appropriately started June 25 at high noon.
Hidden Valley brought a 25-game winning streak into the game while Philomath hadn’t lost to another 4A school in 37 straight. The last time the Mustangs had experienced the sour taste of defeat occurred on Jan. 3, 2020 in a 13-point loss to none other than Philomath.
Something had to give.
Hidden Valley buried a 3-pointer, sank 4 of 6 free throws and got a key offensive rebound on the front end of missed 1-and-1 to pull out a 44-39 victory over the Warriors in Marshfield High’s gymnasium in Coos Bay.
The loss snapped Philomath’s 37-game winning streak against 4A opponents.
Philomath was undefeated in Oregon West Conference play during the shortened pandemic season and ended up with an overall record of 13-2. Earlier in the playoffs, Philomath had defeated Corbett, 73-41, and Valley Catholic, 55-48.
The Philomath High School volleyball team shrugged off a difficult five-set loss to Sisters in the 4A state semifinals on Nov. 5 and took the tournament’s third-place trophy 16 hours later with a four-set victory on Nov. 6 over Valley Catholic.
Playing on the floor at Corvallis High School, Philomath defeated the Valiants, 25-14, 25-20, 8-25 and 26-24. Despite a No. 13 seeding, the Warriors (13-10) were playing as well as any team in 4A when the postseason arrived with sweeps over No. 4 Mazama and No. 5 Baker and a five-set marathon loss against top-seeded Sisters that came down to the final points.
In the Sisters match in the semifinals, the Warriors fought back from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set and kept fighting to the end but Sisters escaped to the championship match with the win, 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 22-25 and 15-11.
“The interesting thing about these matches is you pour your heart into it and you do everything you can and not everything goes right,” PHS coach Denee Newton said. “But when you lose it, it feels worse than if you had just gotten killed because it was at your doorstep.”
Philomath had to play its way into the state playoffs with a victory on Oct. 26 over Hidden Valley on the road in a play-in match.
The team had one of its finest moments during the regular season on Sept. 7 with a five-set win over Cascade, which went on to take the 4A state title. That evening represented the fiirst home volleyball match in front of fans in the PHS gymnasium in 679 days.
Taking the baton from senior teammate Sean Cummings to run the final leg of the 4-by-400-meter relay at the state meet on May 22, Philomath High sophomore Brody Bushnell had some ground to make up with the Warriors sitting in third place.
Bushnell breezed past the team that was in second and set his sights on frontrunner Hidden Valley. Senior Asa Marwick was running the anchor leg for the Mustangs.
“He had quite a gap to make up but fortunately the guy that was anchoring for Hidden Valley is someone he beat in the 800, so he knew he was faster than him,” PHS coach Joe Fulton said. “It was just a matter of closing the gap. He was methodical about it.”
In a previous race against Hidden Valley and the same runner, Fulton said Bushnell had been overanxious, took the lead within the first 100 meters and had to hold him off at the end.
“But this time, he paced himself and just slowly but surely closed the gap until he came off the final turn,” Fulton said, “and then he just blew him away.”
Bushnell finished with a 50.51-second split. Philomath’s time of 3:29.56 was nearly a full second ahead of runner-up Hidden Valley as the Warriors finished the 4A State Track and Field Championships at Siuslaw High in Florence in dramatic fashion. Philomath placed fourth in the team standings, just five points out of second and only a half-point out of third.
In addition to Cummings and Bushnell, the winning 4-by-400 included seniors Levi Knutson and Justin Enghauser.
Bushnell was Philomath’s star of the meet with two individual victories as well. He won the 800 in 1:59.17 — the only Class 4A runner to break 2 minutes in the event this season, which he did three times — and the 1,500 in 4:04.02 by more than 3 seconds ahead of the runner-up.
Longtime Crescent Valley assistant Alex Firth was hired as the head coach of the Philomath High School football program, then-Principal Mike Bussard announced on May 28.
A part of the Class 5A Raiders staff for 18 seasons — most of those as offensive coordinator — Firth at the time was shaping his staff, watching game film and familiarizing himself with the Warriors’ program.
Philomath represented Firth’s first job as a high school head coach.
“I love Corvallis and want to stay in the area and there are really essentially only four opportunities in the area for me to coach,” Firth said, referring to Philomath, CV, Corvallis and Santiam Christian. “Philomath was always in the back of my mind and the job opened and I said, why not throw my name in the hat and see if I could be a head coach?”
Tony Matta’s time as football coach at Philomath came to an end in April with his job in the future to focus on assistant principal and athletic director duties. Matta had a 7-15 record in three seasons leading the program.
Firth became the football team’s third head coach since the program was suspended in 2016.
“We’ve come a long way since then,” Matta said, “and I feel really good about the direction it’s going and about Alex moving forward as the head coach for years to come.”
In Firth’s first season as head coach in the fall, the Warriors went 6-4 and qualified for the 3A state playoffs.
Here’s a rundown of notable accomplishments in athletics in 2021.
• Jan. 25 — During a report to the Philomath School Board, high school principal Mike Bussard and athletic director Tony Matta expressed concerns that the programs scheduled to begin practices in February may not happen on time.
• Feb. 2 — Philomath High’s “fall sports” programs were preparing to open practice in the coming weeks. Official practice start dates were Feb. 8 for football and Feb. 22 for cross-country, soccer and volleyball. Voluntary workouts could be organized for the non-football programs.
• Feb. 8 — Philomath High School’s football team opened practice with coach Tony Matta and his assistants running players through typical Week 1 drills. Wet fields on the PHS campus were causing problems with practices.
• Feb. 12 — The football program received encouraging news this week from the governor’s office announcing that the Oregon Health Authority will revise its guidance for outdoor contact sports. Thus, restrictions were to be eased for schools that have returned to at least limited in-person learning. “It opens the door for playing full-contact regular football,” PHS football coach Tony Matta said.
• Feb. 26 — Game on, game off, game moved, game tentative. It’s been an interesting stretch for Tony Matta, athletic director, and Amanda Bauer, athletics/activities administrative assistant, when it comes to putting together Philomath High’s sports schedules for seasons that are about to begin next week. As of Feb. 25, the football team’s schedule had been reduced to just two games while the volleyball team faces the possibility of playing all of its matches on the road. Soccer games are being moved to Crescent Valley’s artificial turf field and cross-country continues to finalize its meets.
• March 4 — In a solid challenge to open the season, Philomath High’s cross-country teams went to Florence and shared the course with Siuslaw and Tillamook. The PHS boys were second and the girls third.
• March 4 — In the girls soccer season opener, Crescent Valley, defending 5A state champions, defeated Philomath, 3-1.
• March 5 — Playing in an unfamiliar venue a little more than an hour down I-5, going up against a Class 2A opponent and competing in front of empty stands, Philomath High School returned to football. The Warriors walked off Cottage Grove’s field with smiles on their faces following a 37-0 victory over an overmatched Glide squad.
• March 11 — The Philomath High School boys soccer team opened its season on the road against an unbeaten opponent that had already played two games. Although Philomath led early and trailed by just one goal at halftime, Stayton erupted in the second half and pulled away for a 7-2 victory.
• March 13 — In a showdown between Oregon West Conference girls soccer rivals, Philomath High outlasted Stayton 2-1 on Crescent Valley’s turf field. Freshman Kamilla Grimmer scored in the game’s 32nd minute and senior Braedyn McNeely found the net in the 45th just a couple of minutes after Stayton had tied the game.
• March 15 — Taking the court March 15 at Stayton, the Philomath High School volleyball team knew it had some catching up to do. The Eagles were heading into their sixth match of the season while the Warriors were finally playing a season opener. Stayton improved to 5-1 on the season with a 25-22, 25-17, 23-25 and 26-24 victory.
• March 26 — The Philomath High School volleyball team dominated in the comforts of its own gymnasium with a 25-4, 25-11, 25-17 victory over winless Woodburn. It was the first appearance this shortened season for the Warriors in the PHS gym.
• March 27 — Philomath High’s defense would not bend and combined with a screamer into the net off the foot of Elizabeth Morales, the Warriors defeated defending state champion Woodburn, 1-0, on the field at Crescent Valley.
• April 3 — As the time ticked away in the game and the season at Crescent Valley, the Philomath High School boys soccer team found a way to pull off a 1-0 victory. With just 2 minutes to play, Nick Stucki found the net on a chance created by teammates Lucas Ainsworth. The victory gave Philomath a 3-3-1 record in the pandemic-shortened spring season.
• April 3 — The PHS girls cross-country team qualified for state with a second-place finish at the district meet at Sweet Home. Philomath sophomore Ingrid Hellesto had a second-place finish individually.
• April 3 — The Philomath boys cross-country team finished first at the Oregon West district meet to advance to a Class 4A state meet that has been scheduled. Sophomore Brody Bushnell was a runner-up individually.
• April 3 — The Philomath High School football team’s defense has kept opponents off the scoreboard in 16 of 20 quarters played during this pandemic-shortened spring season. The performances add up to four shutouts in five games. Philomath’s latest victim was Stayton in a 14-0 final at Clemens Field.
• April 6 — Senior Alivia Pittman tied the game in the 15th minute and senior Kaili Saathoff found the net in the 75th to give the Warriors a 2-1 girls soccer victory over Gladstone in the first round of the Elite Eight Girls Soccer Showcase.
• April 8 — North Marion outlasted Philomath in the Elite Eight Girls Soccer Showcase semifinals in a game that came down to penalty kicks. The Warriors end the season with a 9-2 record.
• April 9 — Philomath High’s football team ended the season with a 4-2 record after a 21-15 loss at Clemens Field to Sisters.
• April 10 — The PHS boys cross-country finished runner-up to Siuslaw at the 4A championships at Marist Catholic in Eugene. Brody Bushnell placed seventh individually.
• April 10 — Philomath’s girls cross-country team placed seventh at the 4A state championships in Eugene. Ingrid Hellesto was the team’s top individual with 10th place.
• April 12 — The Philomath High School softball team opened the season with a 15-5 win over Sisters.
• April 13 — The Philomath High School boys and girls tennis teams opened their respective seasons with impressive victories over Madras.
• April 16 — Philomath High baseball team opened the season with a doubleheader sweep over visiting Sisters, 5-2 and 15-11.
• April 23 — The Philomath High girls track and field team opened the season on a high note by finishing first at the Central Coast Invitational in Florence. The boys finished fourth.
• April 25 — Tony Matta’s time as football coach at Philomath came to an end with his job in the future to focus on assistant principal and athletic director duties. Matta had a 7-15 record in three seasons leading the program.
• May 1 — Philomath High hosted its first home track and field meet for the first time in four years. The PHS girls won the Philomath Invitational with Alivia Pittman, Mia Rust and Ingrid Hellesto winning individual events. For the boys, Philomath finished third with first-place individual performances by Sean Cummings, Brody Bushnell and Mateo Candanoza, along with the 4-by-400 relay.
• May 1 — The PHS dance team competed alone in its own gymnasium on May 1 for the state championships with judges traveling to various locations.
• May 12 — Philomath High’s softball season ended with a 7-0 loss on the road to Newport. The team’s record ended up at 8-5.
• May 14 — The Philomath High School girls tennis team qualified its top singles player and two doubles teams to the state tournament while winning its first-ever district title in a tournament at Black Butte Ranch. Freshman Bailey Bell won the district singles title. The Philomath boys also saw success with their top two doubles teams and top two singles players advancing to state. Dylan Bell and Nick Stucki won the district doubles title.
• May 15 — The Philomath High School girls track team brought home a championship trophy from Stayton with first place in the Oregon West Conference meet. The boys had to settle for runner-up out of the two-day competition that wrapped up May 15. As for those moving on to this weekend’s state meet, the girls qualified five individuals in six events along with both relays. The boys individually qualified five in eight events plus one relay.
• May 18 — The Philomath High School boys and girls swim teams opened the season May 18 with a home dual against Stayton. The boys won four events, including two of the three relays, and edged the Eagles, 59-52. The girls, meanwhile, put a shorthanded squad into the pool and lost to the visitors, 105-50.
• May 18 — The girls tennis team shared the 4A State Showcase title with Marist Catholic. Singles player Bailey Bell and doubles players Chloe Jurva and Atira Fairbanks both had runner-up finishes. For the boys, doubles partners Nick Stucki and Dylan Bell took third place.
• May 19 — Junior Skylar Brolin had one of his best-ever performances on the mound and the offense staged a late rally with the potential tying and winning runs on base but Philomath High came up short Wednesday in a 3-2 loss to Class 5A Crescent Valley to end the season with a 9-8 record.
• May 21 — The Philomath High School girls basketball team got off to a bit of a sluggish start in the first half on the road but came on strong in the third quarter to end up with a 62-35 victory over Woodburn in the season opener.
• May 21 — The boys basketball team rallied from nine points down in the second half to take a 52-48 win over visiting Woodburn in its opener.
• May 22 — The Philomath High School wrestling team opened the season with an appearance at the GFP Central Oregon Officials Tournament in Sisters. The Warriors wrestled duals against Henley and Toledo and won both handily.
• May 22 — Philomath High’s girls tied for eighth at the 4A State Track and Field Championships at Siuslaw High School in Florence. Mia Rust had the top individual performance of the meet for PHS with third in the shot put.
• May 22 — The PHS boys placed fourth at the 4A state track meet. Brody Bushnell won two individual events with first place in the 800 and 1,500. The 4-by-400 relay with Levi Knutson, Justin Enghauser, Sean Cummings and Bushnell also won.
• June 8 — The PHS wrestling team participated in an outdoor meet at Central High in Independence. The local wrestlers won 14 of 20 individual matches.
• June 16 — The Philomath High School girls basketball team wrapped up play in the Oregon West Conference on Wednesday with a 66-14 victory at Newport. The Warriors finished unbeaten in conference play and had an 11-1 record in the regular season heading into the Class 4A Showcase tournament.
• June 17 — 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. Ben Hernandez, Blaise Pindell, Issiah Blackburn and Connar Kohn won district titles. The team finished second in the team race behind Sweet Home.
• June 18-19 — The Philomath High School boys swim team placed second Friday in the 4A District 3 Championships at Sweet Home. The girls followed the next day in the same pool with the Warriors placing fourth as a team. Later after all times had been compiled, the program learned that the boys qualified five individuals in eight events and two relays while the girls advanced three swimmers in five events and three relays.
• June 22 — Philomath opened the 4A Showcase Final 8 tournament with a 73-41 rout over Corbett. Sage Kramer scored 34 points and had 11 rebounds and Mia Rust finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
• June 24 — The Warriors girls advanced to the 4A Showcase Final 8’s championship game with a 55-48 win over Valley Catholic in the semifinals. Sage Kramer scored 34.
• June 24 — The Philomath boys basketball team ended its season with three games in the Emerald Cup tournament in Eugene. The Warriors opened the tournament with a 57-55 loss to Churchill, beat North Eugene 61-45 and then lost 73-70 in triple overtime to Springfield. The Warriors finished with a 10-5 record.
• June 25 — Hidden Valley outlasted Philomath, 44-39, in overtime in the 4A Showcase Final 8 championship game in Coos Bay. The loss snapped Philomath’s 37-game winning streak against 4A opponents. The team’s season ended with a 13-2 record.
• June 26 — 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 at the Oregon Wrestling Association 4A State Championships at Cascade High School.
• June 26 — The Philomath High School boys swim team had a top-10 team finish and four top-eight performances at the 4A meet at Cottage Grove. Senior Eli McLennan ended his Warrior career in the pool with a fourth-place showing in the 100-yard backstroke. The girls finished 13th in the team standings. Senior Melia Morton had a fourth-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke.
• July 3 — Gary Cox, a well-known and popular former athletic director, teacher and coach at Philomath High School, died on July 3. Friends talked about the impact that Cox had on the community and school.
• July 10 — The Philomath Frolic & Rodeo’s three nights of action in the arena concluded on with a capacity crowd watching cowboys and cowgirls compete against one another for pride and prize money. The rodeo’s attendance came in at more than 5,900 with the last two nights being sellouts.
• Aug. 24 — Athletic Director Tony Matta talks about the Philomath School District’s decision to waive athletic participation fees for the 2020-21 school year — an effort to not only encourage more students to engage in sports but to remove any financial obstacles that could be keeping some from competing.
• Aug. 31 — Philomath High’s girls soccer team opened the season with a 1-0 victory over North Marion. Bailey Bell scored and the PHS defense allowed nothing from the visiting Huskies.
• Aug. 31 — The Warriors boys soccer team defeated North Marion on the road, 1-0, to open its season, the lone goal scored by Mark Grimmer in the second half.
• Sept. 2 — The PHS volleyball team opened the season with a 25-18, 25-18, 30-28 loss on the road to 5A Crook County, a result that didn’t disappoint head coach Denee Newton.
• Sept. 3 — The Philomath High football team opened the season with a 52-0 rout on the road over Valley Catholic.
• Sept. 4 — The PHS boys and girls cross-country teams swept the team titles at The Ultimook Race near Tillamook to open the season.
• Sept. 7 — The Philomath High volleyball team took a memorable five-set victory over Cascade, a team that would go on to win the 4A state title. It was the first home volleyball match in front of fans in the PHS gymnasium in 679 days.
• Sept. 30 — The Philomath High School boys soccer team posted a huge victory, 1-0, over No. 1 Stayton. Mark Grimmer scored the game’s lone goal on a header from a Chase Ringwald corner kick.
• Oct. 9 — The Philomath High boys cross-country team placed second at the Paul Mariman Invitational. Individually, Brody Bushnell placed third and Mateo Candanoza was sixth.
• Oct. 9 — Running on the home course at the Paul Mariman Invitational, the PHS girls finished third despite the absence of its top two runners.
• Oct. 19 — Kings Valley Charter School hosted a rare athletic event on campus with a middle school cross-country meet. KVCS had established a middle school team this fall.
• Oct. 26 — Philomath lost to Stayton 3-2 but still earned a share of the Oregon West Conference title, a first in program history. It was the first conference title for the Warriors since 2009 when the team that season was in the Val-Co League.
• Oct. 26 — The Philomath High School volleyball team dominated Hidden Valley on the road in a Class 4A play-in match to move on to the state tournament. The Warriors defeated the Grants Pass school, 25-9, 25-18, 25-22.
• Oct. 28 — The Philomath High School boys and girls cross-country teams swept top team honors at the Oregon West Conference championships in Eugene. The boys had a 1-2-3 finish individually with Mateo Candanoza, Brody Bushnell and Ben Hernandez. The girls’ top runner pulled out with a leg injury and Ingrid Hellesto was the team’s top finisher in third.
• Oct. 30 — The Philomath High School volleyball team advanced past the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs with a 27-25, 25-20, 25-11 victory in Klamath Falls over Mazama.
• Nov. 2 — The girls soccer team rallied from an early deficit to eliminate Henley, 3-2, in the first round of the 4A playoffs. Elizabeth Morales-Marquez scored two goals in the win.
• Nov. 2 — The PHS volleyball team defeated Baker, 26-24, 25-13, 25-18 to advance to the 4A state tournament. The Warriors came into the state playoffs seeded only No. 13 but had defeated the No. 4 and No. 5 teams to reach the final four.
• Nov. 3 — The Philomath High School boys soccer team launched into its second season with a 5-0 victory over Estacada in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
• Nov. 5 — Philomath High pushed Class 4A’s top-ranked volleyball team to the limit in the state tournament’s semifinals in Corvallis. The Warriors fought back from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set and kept fighting to the end but Sisters escaped to the championship match with the win, 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 22-25 and 15-11.
• Nov. 5 — The Philomath High football team’s season ended in the first round of the 3A state playoffs with a 12-0 loss to Warrenton. The team’s record ended up at 6-4 overall.
• Nov. 6 — The volleyball team shrugged off a difficult five-set loss to Sisters in the 4A state semifinals and took the tournament’s third-place trophy 16 hours later with a four-set victory over Valley Catholic, 25-14, 25-20, 8-25 and 26-24.
• Nov. 6 — The PHS boys cross-country team, competing without its No. 1 and No. 5 runners, placed seventh at the Class 4A Championships in Eugene. Individually, Mateo Candanoza placed sixth.
• Nov. 6 — The Warriors girls cross-country team missed a state title at the Class 4A Championships in Eugene by just one point, finishing second to Siuslaw. Adele Beckstead and Ingrid Hellesto had top 10 performances individually with seventh and 10th, respectively.
• Nov. 6 — The girls soccer team saw its season come to an end with a 1-0 loss to North Marion to the 4A quarterfinals. Philomath’s record ended up at 10-3-3.
• Nov. 6 — Philomath’s boys soccer team edged McLoughlin, 1-0, in the 4A quarterfinals on a Mark Grimmer goal in the game’s 77th minute.
• Nov. 9 — Philomath survived North Marion in the 4A boys soccer semifinals with a 2-1 victory in overtime. Mark Grimmer scored in the 78th minute to tie it and then in the second overtime, Dylan Bell hit a bender on a free kick from 35 yards for what would be the game winner.
• Nov. 13 — The Philomath boys soccer team won the Class 4A state championship in Hillsboro with a 2-1 victory over Hidden Valley in a game that came down to penalty kicks. Mark Grimmer scored on a penalty kick to tie the game in regulation after drawing a foul in the 74th minute. Neither team scored in two overtimes and then PHS had a 5-3 advantage on PKs. Goalkeeper Teddy Benbow had a save and goal in the PK rounds and earned a Most Valuable Player honor. The Warriors finished the season 17-1 and the state title was the program’s second, the last one coming in 2012. Grimmer accomplished a rare feat by scoring in all 18 of Philomath’s games with 30 in all.
• Nov. 19 — Philomath senior Sage Kramer was named to the Oregon West Conference first team in volleyball.
• Nov. 27 — Isaac Lattin was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the 3A Special District 1 West with the release of all-league honors. Lattin was one of four Warriors recognized at six positions on the all-league first team, making it at both linebacker and kicker. Another senior, lineman Joseph Choi, earned first-team honors on both sides of the ball. Junior running back David Griffith and junior tight end/split end Ty May were also first-teamers.
• Dec. 1 — The Philomath High boys basketball team opened the season with a 51-45 overtime victory at Corvallis.
• Dec. 3 — The Philomath High School girls basketball team opened its season on the road with a hard-fought 48-42 victory over Junction City.
• Dec. 4 — The Philomath High School wrestling team opened the season at the Cascade-hosted Perry Burlison Tournament. Juniors Ben Hernandez and Chase Ringwald both had top-three finishes at the 20-team event.
• Dec. 5 — Senior Mark Grimmer pulled off a feat that may never be seen again in Philomath High soccer history. Incredibly, he scored in all 18 Warrior games this season. Grimmer, who had 30 goals in all, earned the Oregon West Conference’s Player of the Year honor and was one of four first-team selections for the Warriors program. Joining Grimmer on the first team were junior Mateo Candanoza, senior Dylan Bell and junior Teddy Benbow. Dave Ellis was named the OWC Coach of the Year.
• Dec. 7 — The Philomath High School boys and girls swim teams warmed up for the season in the home pool with a dual against Stayton. Team points didn’t matter but for the record, Stayton’s girls won 93-60 and Philomath’s boys won 82-12.
• Dec. 9 — Senior Reese Grube, sophomore Bailey Bell and sophomore Kamilla Grimmer were named to the Oregon West Conference first team in girls soccer. Philomath High graduate and former co-coach Andrea Whiteman at Woodburn was named a co-coach of the year.
• Dec. 11 — Playing at the home of the Trail Blazers, the Philomath High School boys basketball team took advantage of the opportunity to play in an NBA arena and created good memories with a 64-19 rout over Tillamook.
• Dec. 13 — Philomath High School teams will remain in the Oregon West Conference over the next four-year block in a Class 4A that has been reduced from 34 to 31 teams. That’s what came out of an Oregon School Activities Association executive board meeting on Dec. 13 with the approval of classifications for 2022-26. The Oregon West will be losing Sisters and Woodburn and picking up North Marion.
• Dec. 18 — The Philomath High School girls basketball team won the South Coast Les Schwab Tournament title in Coos Bay with a 38-31 victory in the championship game over previously unbeaten Class 5A Crook County.
• Dec. 20 — The Philomath High School volleyball program will have a new coach next season with Denee Newton’s recent announcement that she was stepping down to focus on her career in education. Newton compiled a record of 70-40 in five seasons as the head coach.
• Dec. 22 — Philomath High’s wrestling team won the Benton County Championships for the first time since 2010-11 and for the sixth time overall. The Warriors had eight first-place individual finishes at the meet, which was staged Dec. 22 on two mats in Philomath High’s main gymnasium.
• Dec. 27 — Boys soccer player Mark Grimmer earned the 4A Player of the Year and Dave Ellis was named 4A Coach of the Year. Besides Grimmer, Warriors goalkeeper Teddy Benbow also earned first-team recognition.