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A day after his Warriors competed in the Oregon West Conference Duals, Philomath wrestling coach Troy Woosley directed all of his attention on the seeding meeting for the Special District 2 tournament scheduled for this coming Friday and Saturday at Junction City.

Just as the wrestlers strategize on the mat, their head coaches hope to make the right moves in the seeding meetings. As Woosley described, “It gets heated.”

Woosley offers this example of how the process works.

“They put two weights on the board and they say, ‘OK, last call for 106,” he explained. “There’s five minutes left and you sit there and wait and wait and wait and you can at the last minute bump a kid to 113. So you’re waiting for other coaches to see if they’re going to do it.

“Say you bump him … OK, now we’re at 113, we’re locked in there because you can’t go to 120. Then you have the 113-pounders up there and all of a sudden, someone brings a 120-pounder down to 113 and you’re going ‘oh, geez.’ It’s a chess match.”

The top four wrestlers in each weight division advance to the state tournament. Some divisions are tougher than others so coaches have to figure how to put their athletes in the best possible position to qualify for a trip to Portland and once they get there, have a shot at a medal.

“We’ll see how they land in the brackets,” Woosley said. “There will be a couple of kids of mine where it will be a tough decision of where to go.”

Among the weight divisions expected to be very tough at districts will be 195. Philomath sophomore Connar Kohn will be trying for a return trip to state. But a few others that have been wrestling at 220 competed at Saturday’s duals tournament at the lower weight — namely Cascade’s Macoy Christman and Newport’s Jimmy Acevedo.

“This is their first time at 195; they’re both running from the Banks kid, the state champion,” Woosley said. “So 195 is becoming loaded and we’re going to have to step up our game. It’ll be a fight.”

Banks junior James Ellis won state last season at 195 but has been wrestling 220 this season and has a 32-1 record. Kohn lost bouts Saturday to both Christman and Acevedo but beat another contender in Stayton’s Garret Sandefur.

Coming into this season, Kohn was the lone returning state qualifier for the Warriors.

“I’d be disappointed if we didn’t get four to six kids and we could get a few more,” Woosley said. “We’ve got four days to practice and just clear our heads and start the new season.”

Along with Kohn, Philomath’s top prospects for a trip to state include senior Brooks Stearns at 182, senior Hunter McCaskill at 138, sophomore Issiah Blackburn at 170 and freshman Blaise Pindell at 126.

“I’m pretty excited for regionals,” Stearns said after winning two of three contested matches in the duals tournament. “I think I’ve got a pretty good chance of doing good things there and it should be fun.”

Stearns believes that the mental approach to wrestling can be a key factor in big matches.

“The confidence needs to balance out the cockiness in way,” Stearns said. “You have to be confident that you’ll win but a lot of guys will wrestle guys we’ve wrestled before. Everybody that we wrestled here today is going to be there. It’s just knowing that anybody can be beaten on any given day, so you just do your best.”

Blackburn and Pindell did not compete at Saturday’s duals meet for various reasons but both will be ready for the district tournament.

Beyond those wrestlers already mentioned, Philomath has a few others that have shown the abilities of competing at a high level and they should not be ruled out on continuing the season beyond Saturday. Take Jayden Jensen, a senior who competes at 152.

Jensen had a nice 29-second pin against his Siuslaw opponent in Saturday’s duals tournament and he put a couple of great moves on Sweet Home junior Travis Thorpe, who sports a 42-4 record.

“He had Thorpe, he had a really good shot on him,” Woosley said.

As Stearns had indicated, Jensen believes a wrestler needs to enter regionals with the right attitude.

“You have to walk on the mat thinking you’re going to win if you want to have a chance,” Jensen said. “You can’t walk in there knowing you’re going to lose. Confidence is a huge part of it.”

Asked if he thinks he can earn that trip to Portland, he said, “I can take fourth. I’m confident I can take fourth and make it to state.”

Jensen’s one of those guys on the team who has been competing all four years.

“I’m going to miss it,” he said. “I probably don’t realize how much I’m going to miss it but next season when wrestling season rolls around, I’ll miss it.”

Other varsity seniors competing in their last district meet will be McCaskill, Morgan French and Noah Estes, an Alsea High student who wrestles with Philomath through a co-op agreement.

Other Philomath wrestlers with winning records through the regular season heading into districts include freshman Blake Niemann, sophomore Matthew Hamlet and sophomore Matt Workman.

As far as the Oregon West Conference Duals — hosted this season by Philomath — Cascade and Sweet Home finished unbeaten. The two schools did not wrestle one another because they had already dueled earlier this season (Sweet Home won, 61-16).

Philomath won its first three duals over Stayton (36-29), Siuslaw (36-28) and Newport (48-21). Powerful Sweet Home pulled off a rare feat with an 84-0 win over the Warriors — the maximum team score possible. Philomath finished with a 60-15 loss to Cascade.

Philomath wrestlers had an overall record of 14-29 in contested matches.

“We won a couple of matchups that we wanted to but we just did not match up with a couple of teams,” Woosley said. “Where we were strong, they were stronger and we knew that coming in.”

Philomath competed without three of its starters.

Woosley said he was impressed with how some of his underclassmen performed in the final dual of the day. Juniors Hunter Kaumanns, Matthew Hamlet and Austin Murphree all had wins along with the senior Stearns.

“It was good to see a couple of our younger kids win in that last match after they had already wrestled four times,” Woosley said. “This is a good reflection of what we’re going to see at regionals. I’m not overly concerned about our conditioning.”

Individually on the day, French, Hamlet, Murphree, Stearns and Estes each won two matches that were contested (not counting forfeits). Kaumanns, McCaskill, Jensen and Kohn each had one win.

“Now we just have to fine-tune a few things,” Woosley said. “I thought our wind was there most of the time. We wrestled some state champs today and some seconds and thirds. A couple of them wrestled good even though we were way overmatched, so that’s good to see.”

OWC Duals

Saturday at Philomath

Team standings: Cascade 4-0, Sweet Home 3-0, Philomath 3-2, Stayton 2-2, Siuslaw 1-4, Newport 0-5.

Round 1

Philomath 36, Stayton 29; Cascade 75, Newport 6; Sweet Home 78, Siuslaw 3

Round 2

Philomath 36, Siuslaw 28; Cascade 59, Stayton 22; Sweet Home 78, Newport 6

Round 3

Philomath 48, Newport 21; Stayton 36, Siuslaw 33

Round 4

Sweet Home 84, Philomath 0; Cascade 54, Siuslaw 25; Stayton 55, Newport 12

Round 5

Cascade 60, Philomath 15; Siuslaw 48, Newport 18

PHS Results

Philomath 36, Stayton 29

106 — Ben Adams, STY, maj. dec. Blake Niemann, 15-5

113 — Donald Morgan, STY, won by forfeit

120 — Cody Murphy, STY, maj. dec. Ben Gary, 14-0

126 — Elijah Howard, STY, won by forfeit

132 — Tanner Goodman, STY, pinned Hunter Kaumanns, 3:22

138 — Hunter McCaskill, PHS, won by forfeit

145 — Morgan French, PHS, pinned Jason Ritchie, 3:59

152 — Jayden Jensen, PHS, won by forfeit

160 — Matthew Hamlet, PHS, dec. Grant Vogel, 5-3

170 — Clay Dickerson, STY, dec. Austin Murphree, 10-3

182 — Brooks Stearns, PHS, dec. Johnny Sylva, 10-8

195 — Connar Kohn, PHS, pinned Garret Sandefur, 1:23

220 — Noah Estes, PHS, pinned Clint Brownell, 0:30

285 — Double forfeit

Philomath 36, Siuslaw 28

106 — Blake Niemann, PHS, won by forfeit

113 — Double forfeit

120 — Brady Libby, SIU, pinned Ben Gary, 2:47

126 — Double forfeit

132 — Elijah LaCosse, SIU, pinned Hunter Kaumanns, 3:38

138 — Hunter McCaskill, PHS, won by forfeit

145 — Morgan French, PHS, pinned Ricky Losa-Sanchez, 0:48

152 — Jayden Jensen, PHS, pinned Zekiah Hunt, 0:29

160 — Hector Garcia, SIU, maj. dec. Matthew Hamlet, 14-3

170 — Riley Jenings, SIU, pinned Austin Murphree, 1:15

182 — Brooks Stearns, PHS, won by forfeit

195 — Connar Kohn, PHS, won by forfeit

220 — Matthew Horrillo, SIU, pinned Noah Estes, 5:53

285 — Double forfeit

Philomath 48, Newport 21

106 — Jonathan Mazo-Amezaga, NEW, dec. Blake Niemann, 15-10

113 — Double forfeit

120 — Ben Gary, PHS, won by forfeit

126 — Zethan Brandenberger, NEW, won by forfeit

132 — Cole Wiles, NEW, pinned Hunter Kaumanns, 1:43

138 — Hunter McCaskill, PHS, pinned Kevin Mazo-Amezaga, 0:47

145 — Morgan French, PHS, won by forfeit

152 — Jayden Jensen, PHS, won by forfeit

160 — Matthew Hamlet, PHS, won by forfeit

170 — Austin Murphree, PHS, pinned Samuel Watson, 0:56

182 — Brooks Stearns, PHS, won by forfeit

195 — Jimmy Acevedo, NEW, pinned Connar Kohn, 5:29

220 — Noah Estes, PHS, pinned Angel Torres, 1:01

285 — Double forfeit

Sweet Home 84, Philomath 0

106 — Kyle Watkins, SH, pinned Blake Niemann, 1:38

113 — Connor Ford, SH, won by forfeit

120 — Tristan Spencer, SH, won by forfeit

126 — Brayden Newport, SH, won by forfeit

132 — Robert Watkins, SH, pinned Hunter Kaumanns, 0:43

138 — Jackson Royer, SH, pinned Hunter McCaskill, 1:48

145 — Robbie Yunke, SH, pinned Morgan French, 0:20

152 — Travis Thorpe, SH, pinned Jayden Jensen, 1:07

160 — Boe Baxter, SH, pinned Matthew Hamlet, 1:01

170 — Hayden McDonald, SH, pinned Austin Murphree, 0:49

182 — Nich James, SH, pinned Brooks Stearns, 1:36

195 — Nick Rice, SH, pinned Connar Kohn, 0:41

220 — Jake Fanning, SH, pinned Noah Estes, 5:52

285 — David McMullen, SH, won by forfeit

Cascade 60, Philomath 15

106 — Mauro Michel, CAS, pinned Blake Niemann, 2:29

113 — Daniel Moore, CAS, won by forfeit

120 — Caymus Roache, CAS, pinned Ben Gary, 0:21

126 — Gage Olson, CAS, won by forfeit

132 — Hunter Kaumanns, PHS, dec. Zachary Fulgham, 6-4

138 — Joseph Baxter, CAS, pinned Hunter McCaskill, 3:21

145 — Kane Nixon, CAS, pinned Morgan French, 0:32

152 — Ben Roth, CAS, pinned Jayden Jensen, 4:24

160 — Matthew Hamlet, PHS, dec. Westin Nelson, 4-2 (SV)

170 — Austin Murphree, PHS, dec. Kayden Lindquist, 15-10

182 — Brooks Stearns, PHS, pinned Michel Mannot, 3:01

195 — Macoy Christman, CAS, pinned Connar Kohn, 0:35

220 — Matthew Clark, CAS, pinned Noah Estes, 1:07

285 — Ben Fouts, CAS, won by forfeit

Junior Varsity

145 — Cooper Latz (2-0): Pinned John Corser, SIU, 3:10; pinned by Kyle Willhite, SH, 1:26

160 — George House (0-2): Lost maj. dec. Noah Moore, SH, 14-1; lost tech fall Jesse Jamison, SH, 18-2

195 — Matt Workman (1-0): Pinned JC Gentry, SIU, 0:19

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