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Prep Notebook: HHS, Graham series to continue

Dec. 03, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Huntington High hasn't seen the last of national and Ohio Division II wrestling power Graham High.

Falcons coach Jeff Jordan told Highlanders coach Rob Archer after Saturday night's dual that he wants to continue this series and Archer said that was fine with him. Graham won, 44-20, at Huntington High's Lucas-Archer Gymnasium to improve to 3-0 in the series.

"Huntington High's got a good team. They're going to make a run at the state," said Jordan, whose team is ranked No. 20 by Amateur Wrestling News, No. 1 in Ohio Division II and seeking to extend its state title streak to 13. "This is great for our program."

No more 2-for-1 setups now. Each team will be host every other year. That means the Highlanders will go to St. Paris in 2013 and the Falcons will return in 2014.

"I took a shot in the dark," Highlanders coach Rob Archer said about landing a dual of this stature. "I talked to Jeff, we tried it out and we've got something going."

Huntington High, ranked No. 1 in Class AAA in the first West Virginia Coaches Association poll, got wins from Jordan Allen at 113, Billy Waldeck at 138, Justin Arthur at 145 and heavyweight Toney Kitts. The Highlanders trailed 19-15 after Arthur's pin, but Graham won the next six matches to pull away.

"Everyone knows they're good," Archer said of the Falcons, who had a nice cheering section in the stands. "When you win national titles (two), that (fan support) happens."

Waldeck and Allen turned the tables on Graham opponents who beat them last year. Waldeck pinned Nate Henkle and Allen got a decision over Eli Seipel.

"Billy's not technically great," Archer said. "With him you have to go three periods. He grinds it out. Jordan showed a lot of effort. Justin was himself."

In the end, Graham won 10 of 14 matches. The Falcons won four by pinfall and two major decisions. The Highlanders had two pins and one technical fall.

"You see how they compete," Archer said. "That's the level we have to get to all the way down."

Graham's next start will be the Walsh Ironman Invitational this weekend in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Other big events for the Falcons include a dual on Jan. 5 at national No. 1 Blair Academy, Top Gun Tournament in Alliance, Ohio in mid-January and state tournament in March.

"We want a tough schedule," Jordan said. "We like for our guys to have losses, except for the state tournament. Huntington's a quality team. We've got to be ready every time we're on the mat."

Huntington High's next match is Thursday at No. 4 Ripley. The Vikings opened the season Saturday with wins over Parkersburg South and Bucknannon-Upshur in a tri-match at Parkersburg South.

Ripley heavyweight Daryl Hicks pinned South's Dane Mills to secure a 33-28 victory, the first for the Vikings over South in school history. That made it tough debut for new Patriots coach Donna Dixon. South, which has won four straight Class AAA state titles, won just five matches, but four were by pin and one a major decision to make it close.

The Highlanders last went to Ripley in 2009 and won, 35-33. Huntington beat the Vikings at home in 2010, 65-15, but last year the Jackson County team beat the Highlanders on their mat, 36-27.

NEW AT CABELL MIDLAND: Ian Semmelroth is the new wrestling coach at Cabell Midland. Chris Boone is his assistant. The Knights will debut this weekend at East Liverpool, Ohio.

WINFIELD WINS: Winfield won the Mike Ellis Invitational wrestling tournament on Saturday at Hurricane High School. Spring Valley was second.

SOCCER AWARD: Bradley Jordan, a guidance counselor at Spring Valley High School, was named West Virginia Soccer Referee of the Year for 2012 and received the award during the state tournament held Nov. 2-3 in Charleston. This was his ninth season as a soccer referee. "It's a nice honor," he said.

DRAWING A CROWD: Three college women's basketball coaches took in Huntington St. Joe's 72-65 win over Columbus Africentric on Saturday night in Columbus. Mychal Johnson led the Fighting Irish with 25 points. The junior's given a verbal commitment to Notre Dame and Fighting Irish coach Muffet McGraw was in the stands along with coaches from Cincinnati and Charlotte.

STREAK OVER: South Webster beat Oak Hill, 53-33, in girls basketball Thursday at Oak Hill, ending the Southern Ohio Conference Division II winning streak for the Lady Oaks at 58.

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