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Prep Notebook: Win vs. Midland wakes up HHS

Jan. 13, 2013 @ 11:00 PM

Huntington High's Justin Arthur believes the wrestling team got a much-needed wakeup call Wednesday night.

The Highlanders won their annual dual match at Cabell Midland, 43-28, but the teams went 6-6 head-to-head and Huntington High got two other wins by forfeit to secure a third straight win in the series and retain possession of the Superintendent's Cup.

"Our heads got too big with the ranking," said Arthur, a senior who competes at 145 pounds and will wrestle in college at Clarion University. "This will be the jolt we need."

Huntington High came in off a runner-up finish to Colonial Forge at the 11th Marines.com Battlefield Duals in Stafford, Va. The Highlanders have four wrestlers ranked No. 1 in West Virginia for their weight class -- Logan Grass at 106 pounds, Jordan Allen at 113, Jarred Simpkins at 120 and Arthur at 145 -- and Nigale Cabell ranked No. 2 at 220 in the latest West Virginia Coaches Association individual rankings.

At the same time, Cabell Midland finished third in the Jackson County Invitational at Ravenswood. The Knights have just one wrestler ranked, Nathan Jefferson at 220.

Huntington High has occupied the No. 1 spot in the Class AAA rankings since preseason. The Highlanders moved past defending state champion Parkersburg South, which has won the big-school crown four straight years.

"A total letdown," Arthur, a two-time state champion, said of the team's effort Wednesday night. "We outscored them. A team should not be ranked No. 1 if they wrestle like that."

Cabell Midland has a young team and a first-year coach in Ian Semelroth. The Knights, ranked No. 9 in Class AAA, have showed steady progress since season-opening tournaments at Hurricane and St. Albans. They won the Musselman Duals.

"I just want our team to get better each time out," Semelroth said. His roster shows just three seniors and one junior.

Huntington High has some time to reflect on needed corrections. The Highlanders return to action this weekend in the WSAZ Invitational at Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

"The break will help," Arthur said. "Little things have to be corrected. They will."

MOMENTUM: Ironton's girls have momentum going into Monday's basketball game at unbeaten Fairland. The Lady Tigers beat Ashland, 51-47, Thursday at the Conley Center. Lexie Washington had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Lexie Barrier hit for 17 points to lead Ironton (10-3). Allie Slone scored 18 points to lead the Kittens (9-3). Standout guard Alexis Robinson had just four points, but she did get 10 rebounds. A steal and layup by Barrier with 1:01 left put the Lady Tigers ahead to stay, 47-45.

OPENINGS IN KENTUCKY: Leon Hart, 62, has called it quits as Ashland football coach after 10 years. He informed the Tomcats about his decision on Jan. 3. Hart's overall record was 78-40 and 9-9 in post-season play. Hart is the second winningest coach in Ashland history. The 2012 season was his 40th in coaching, including a long stint at Eastern Kentucky where the Colonels won two I-AA national titles.

Hart cites family issues as his reason for leaving. Hart's parents, both 84, live in Mansfield, Ohio. His father is ill and he wants to spend as much quality time with him and his mother as possible. He also has sons and grandchildren in Burlington, N.C., that he wants to visit more often. Ashland made the playoffs in nine of 10 seasons with the 2-8 mark in 2007 his only losing record.

On Jan. 5, Boyd County coach Ray Brooks told his players he would not be back next season. He resigned after just one season because he wants to spend more time with his family. Longtime assistant coach Jeff Frasure was named interim head coach, according to Boyd County Athletic Director Dave Trimble. The head coaching job must be posted on the Kentucky High School Athletic Association website for 30 days before a hire is made.

For Brooks, this was his first head coaching position. The Lions went 5-6. He had been defensive coordinator at Huntington High the previous four years. Since 1990, Boyd County has had seven coaches and just four winning seasons. He will remain a special education teacher at the school.

BEASTS NOTE: Sports writer Grant Traylor wanted to pass along a special thank you to the hospitality personnel at the Beasts of the Southeast on Saturday for getting him hooked up with Internet quickly and keeping him fed with his tournament favorite Broccoli and Cheese casserole.

David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or dwalsh@herald-dispatch.com.

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