HUNTINGTON - Cabell Midland and Huntington High will renew their wrestling rivalry Wednesday when the teams meet in a 6:30 p.m. dual match at Huntington High's Lucas-Archer Gym Complex.
The match will answer questions such as whether Huntington High is still the top team in Cabell County as well as Class AAA, Region IV or if Cabell Midland is ready to show itself as a top team in the county and region. Huntington High was No. 4 in the latest WVmat.com poll and Cabell Midland was No. 8.
Cabell Midland coach Luke Salmons doesn't pay attention to the rankings but likes the dual match with a county rival because his team looks forward to it.
"Huntington is competitive and a good program," Salmons said. "It's good for the schools and (Huntington) is always a measuring stick."
A head-to-head win over the Highlanders would give Cabell Midland bragging rights and confidence moving forward.
Cabell Midland has already faced top Class AAA teams in No. 3 Wheeling Park and No. 5 University, taking a win over the latter at the Wheeling Park Duals where the Knights finished third overall.
Salmons' team then took first place last week at a Nitro tournament.
"Zach Dillon and Isaiah Vaughn won for us and Payne Salmons, Nate Neal and Luke Jordan all came in second," Salmons said.
Huntington High coach Rob Archer also likes the Cabell Midland rivalry as a chance to face a team more on the level with the Highlanders.
"We've been traveling and we're kind of tired of staying in hotels," Archer said.
Huntington High has faced some of the top talent in the nation at tournaments in Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina where the Highlanders faced the No. 2 team in the country in Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) and national No. 5 St. Edwards (Ohio).
The Highlanders hosted a tri-meet that included the state's top-ranked Class AAA team Parkersburg South.
"If I have top kids and they come into the state tournament undefeated then I haven't done my job," said Archer of his team's tough schedule.
Archer's squad uses the match with Cabell Midland to tune up for the WSAZ Invitational (Jan. 18-19 in downtown Huntington at Big Sandy Superstore Arena, the Mountain State Athletic Conference tournament (Jan. 26) at Parkersburg, the Class AAA, Region IV tournament (Feb. 9) at Parkersburg and the state tournament (Feb. 21-23) at Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
Huntington High finished second in the state a season ago behind two-time state champion Zane Lanham and Archer said he is looking to get other wrestlers such as London Bowen and Clayton Stewart on the medal stand as well.
"With Cabell Midland we want to do two things," Archer said. "We want to win the dual and we want our guys to prepare without fear. When we get to the matches its time to show off what we've been practicing to do."