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Prep Notebook: Win vs. Patriots huge for HHS

Feb. 10, 2013 @ 11:04 PM

The conversation between Nigale Cabell and his Huntington High teammates went much better Thursday night than it had been leading up to the big wrestling dual against Parkersburg South in Archer-Lucas Gym.

Cabell beat Zach Haddix, 11-2, at 220 pounds and the major decision locked up the victory for the Highlanders. Heavyweight Tony Kitts won the final match to wrap up a 37-24 victory.

"I heard it all week," Cabell said in reference to the latest West Virginia Coaches Association individual rankings where the junior had gone from first to fifth. "That set me off. I had to get it back."

Huntington High's lead had dwindled to 30-24 with two matches to go. Cabell came out fast against Haddix and dominated throughout. Last weekend, Cabell lost in the finals of the Mountain State Athletic Conference Tournament at Parkersburg.

"I know what I can do. This makes me feel a lot better," Cabell said.

"He looked mad going out," Highlanders coach Rob Archer said.

Huntington High started the season ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll and has stayed there throughout. Parkersburg South, which has won four straight Class AAA state titles, had hoped to make it five straight dual wins over the Highlanders and reclaim No. 1 in the poll. The Patriots now will have to wait until the state tournament Feb. 21-23 in Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

"This is an amazing win," Cabell said. "It helps a lot to show we belong where we are."

For Huntington High, this was another strong outing since the 43-28 win over rival Cabell Midland in the annual county dual Jan. 9 at Cabell Midland.

"I want the kids to be aggressive. They were," Archer said. "They were ready to roll."

Parkersburg South did alter its lineup a bit. Out were Logan Ball at 103, Jake Alexander at 145 and Chip Sturek at 152. Heavyweight Thomas Hall took the mat for the first time. Illness and an injury kept him out since football season.

It was Alumni Night at Huntington High and 37 former wrestlers from the old and new Huntington High were introduced prior to the match. Justin Arthur, a standout for the Highlanders at 145, had his father Kerry and grandfathers Charlie Cooper and Kerry Jr. in attendance.

Donna Dixon, first-year coach at Parkersburg South, believes her team will be amped up come the state tournament. If the Patriots would win, they'd become the first Class AAA team to win five titles in a row.

"Everything will be on a different level," she said. "They'll come to wrestle."

Paul Jackson, the coach Dixon replaced, attended Thursday's match.

CABELL MIDLAND WINS: Cabell Midland beat Spring Valley, 67-9, in wrestling Wednesday to make Senior Night a success for the Knights.

POINT ROLLS: Point Pleasant, which is in its first Class AAA year after winning three straight West Virginia Class AA/A wrestling titles, beat Ripley, 43-27, on Friday.

NICE COMEBACK: Ironton outscored Huntington High, 20-10, in the fourth quarter to rally for a 64-61 win on Thursday night at Ironton's Conley Center. It was Senior Night for the Lady Tigers (17-5). Ariel Schweickart, Alana Martin, Karlee McMackin and Alicia Murphy suited up for the last time at home.

TENNIS AWARDS: Kennedy Womack, senior at Fairview, and David Bush, junior at Rose Hill Christian, won the Most Improved Player Awards at the Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame and Awards Celebration held Jan. 26 at the Louisville Country Club. Womack and Bush were selected as girl and boy winner by USTA Kentucky, based on accomplishments.

Womack has signed to play tennis at Morehead State University. Last spring, Womack was girls singles runner-up at the state high school championships while attending Rose Hill Christian. She transferred to Fairview in September and has been ruled eligible by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association for her senior season.

As a sophomore, Bush was regional singles champ for the third consecutive year and advanced to the state quarterfinals. He made All-State. Bush represented Kentucky at the Southern Davis Cup.

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