Top teams face off in wrestling
HUNTINGTON -- It's No. 1 in West Virginia against No. 1 in Ohio Division II when Graham High School comes to Huntington High for a 6 p.m., Saturday, wrestling dual match.
Huntington High is ranked No. 1 in the first West Virginia Coaches poll, a spot usually occupied by defending West Virginia Class AAA state champion Parkersburg South. Graham from St. Paris, Ohio, is No. 1 in Ohio Division II and No. 20 nationally in the Amateur Wrestling News High School Top 20.
"We love the competition," said Huntington HIgh's Justin Arthur, a two-time state champion who signed with Clarion University. "It's a different breed of wrestling."
This is the third straight year the teams have met. Graham won, 64-3, in 2010 at home and, 50-13, last year on its home mat.
"They're such good wrestlers," Huntington High coach Rob Archer said. "The middle school feeds them well. They're developed. That's why they're so successful.
"The first trip was embarassing and the second one ugly again," said Arthur, who's wrestling at 145 pounds.
The Highlanders opened Wednesday at home with wins over Winfield and Woodrow Wilson in a tri-match.
Other returning state champs for Huntington High are Jordan Allen at 113 and Billy Waldeck at 138. Logan Grass (106) placed second and Jarrod Simpkins, a state champion for Ripley in 2011, is now with the Highlanders at 120.
Graham is seeking its 13th straight Ohio Division II state title. Coach Jeff Jordan's Eagles are led by senior Bo Jordan (his son), who is ranked No. 1 in the nation at 160 and signed with Ohio State. He is looking to become a four-time state champion. Micah Jordan, also the coach's son, is after his third straight state title and 21st for the family. Their dad was a two-time All-American at Wisconsin and four-time state champ in Ohio with a 159-1 career mark.
Also back for the Falcons are the Elis -- Stickley and Seipel. Coach Jordan also is counting on freshman Brent Moore, an Ohio middle school state champion, and two-time Ohio middle school state champion Alex Marinelli.