A wrestling season can become a grind, with two-day tournaments scheduled almost every weekend for three months.
The occasional midweek dual can be a welcome break from the routine.
Greenbrier East will get that chance Wednesday, and in an important setting. The Spartans will host Region 3 foe St. Albans at 7 p.m. The winner will earn its spot in the inaugural West Virginia Dual Team State Championships on Feb. 1 at The Greenbrier.
St. Albans dethroned Greenbrier East as Class AAA Region 3 champion last season. The Spartans had won the championship two consecutive years.
Both teams are looking strong enough to take the title Feb. 15 in Beckley as a rivalry seems to be building.
Greenbrier East coach Brian Miluk said a rivalry dual is just as good for fans as it is for the teams.
“We need more rivalries. I like that idea,” Miluk said. “People will come out and watch a wrestling match that is going to take an hour, hour and a half. It’s tough to go sit and watch a tournament that runs throughout the day. We have St. Albans coming up and we have Woodrow, and we’re trying to get something lined up with Shady Spring.
“It’s a lot more fan friendly, and I’m a big fan of doing things that are fan friendly.”
Greenbrier East and Woodrow Wilson were supposed to meet in the annual Coal Country Challenge last Wednesday but the dual was canceled. A makeup date has not been announced.
The Spartans have won the last four meetings. Miluk says the advantages of the annual dual are multiple.
“It’s a nice rivalry,” he said. “(Former Woodrow coach) Street started this a while ago. The first couple of years we gave each other T-shirts and there is a trophy that goes back and forth with the winner. And we’re in the same region so it gives a better feel for who we will see as we get ready for the state tournament.
“In the middle of the week, it breaks up practice and gives the kids something to look forward to.”
Miluk is happy with the way things have gone for his team as the season hits the halfway point.
“So far so good,” he said. “We have a mixed bunch. We have tremendous senior leadership. Our seniors are becoming good leaders. I can see more improvement with our young guys and I think that has a lot to do with our senior leaders.”
The five seniors who will start for the Spartans tonight are Zach Mullins (132 pounds), Waymon Browning (138), Alex Zimmerman (160), Owen Quinn (170) and Nick Thomas (182).
Greenbrier East will go to the Big Blue Tournament in Christiansburg, Va., on Friday and Saturday.
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