Freshman’s upset win sparks HHS on mat
HUNTINGTON — Gamesmanship is always to be expected when archrivals meet, and the Huntington High and Cabell Midland wrestling teams are no different.
The teams met Wednesday at the Lonnie C. Lucas-William J. Archer Gym Complex at Huntington High School, where the Highlanders defeated the Knights, 45-29, in the first meeting of the year between the two schools.
Huntington won three straight matches and eight of 14 overall to take the dual, but the six wins by Cabell Midland, including three straight to end the night, made the match close.
The Highlanders took the 106-pound match when the Knights did not have a wrestler to take on Jaishawn Lyles.
Freshman Josiah Winters then took a 3-1 decision over Luke Jordan in a match Huntington coach Rob Archer said the rest of the Highlanders took note of.
“He definitely fired up the rest of the team,” Archer said.
Jordan, a junior at Cabell Midland who took second at a tournament in Nitro this past weekend, was bumped from 106 pounds — where he would have wrestled fellow junior Jaishawn Lyles — to 113 pounds, where the Knights didn’t have a contender.
“We thought it would be more beneficial to the team,” Jordan said.
The strategy by Cabell Midland coach Luke Salmons was to prevent Huntington from winning the forfeit and possibly having Lyles defeat Jordan, which would have at least given the Highlanders an early 9-0 lead.
Instead, Salmons conceded a forfeit to Lyles at 106 in hopes Jordan could defeat Winters. That strategy backfired.
Winters took an early 2-0 lead when he reversed a hold by Jordan. In the second period, Winters was awarded a point for a stand-up that made it a 3-0 decision. Jordan fought back in the third, earning one point, and in the closing seconds nearly earned two points that would have tied the match. However, the referee didn’t award the points, giving Winters the upset.
“It was a tough match and we were in both good shape, but he just wanted it more,” Jordan said.
Although Salmons’ attempt to help the Knights get more points failed, Jordan’s loss mattered little.
Combined with the forfeit at 106 pounds, and defending state runner-up London Bowen’s pin of Bryson Potter in the 120-pound class, the Winters win was the second of three straight by the Highlanders to begin the night.
Cabell Midland took the 126-pound matchup when Payne Salmons pinned Devin Doss for the Knights’ first win. That fall made the match score 15-6. Isaiah Vaughn pinned Preston Sellards (138) while Nate Neale won a 12-4 major decision over Orion Barrett in the 152-pound class.
Salmons made up some of the point deficit by moving Zach Dillon from the 182-pound class to 195 pounds, where he pinned Huntington’s Grant Murphy, and Preston Rose won a 6-2 decision over Tariq Baker at 220 and Kellen Hunt defeated Kordell Todd 9-0 at 285.
Dillon and Hunt wrestled in place of injured Ivan Vaughn and Logan Osburn respectively. Without two of Cabell Midland’s best wrestlers able to go, Huntington’s performance Wednesday was too much.
Cabell Midland picked up another win, Nate Neale’s 12-4 major decision over Orion Barrett, earning four points for the Knights that cut the score to 27-16 in favor of Huntington.
Huntington coupled wins by Alex Viars (132) and Gabe Dempsey (145) with wins by A.J. Dempsey (160), Clayton Stewart (170) and Zane Lanham (182) with the earlier matches to take the dual and the Superintendent’s Trophy for the fifth consecutive time.
The two archrivals are expected to see each other in the near future with the WSAZ Invitational Jan. 18-19, the MSAC tournament Jan. 26 and regionals Feb. 9.
“You could tell our focus was on the dual,” Archer said speaking on Salmons’ behalf. “You’ll see some of the individual stuff that matters down the road closer to the state tournament. This is round one.”