COLUMBUS, Kan. - Justin Gibson feels pretty good as his Miami wrestlers head into their 2007-08 opener here Tuesday night.

“I feel pretty good,” he said Saturday morning prior to a workout at the high school.

“We've been working hard,” Gibson said. “Other people take off, but we were here (last) Wednesday, off Thanksgiving Day then back here for three hours on Friday. Then we came in Saturday to lift and run.”

The Wardogs will be joined by the hosts and Carthage, Mo., in the three-way match.

“Both are always ranked in their states,” Gibson said. “We beat Columbus last year but lost to Carthage. Two years ago, it was the other way around.”

In last year's opener, the Wardogs topped Columbus 46-23 after dropping a 65-12 decision to Carthage.

Miami returns two of its four state tournament qualifiers from a year ago, Jon Smith and Jed Gibson.

Smith, who posted a 29-10 record, finished fourth in the 125-pound bracket, dropping a tough one-point decision to Austin McNatt of Chickasha in the consolation finals.

The younger Gibson, who suffered back-to-back losses in the state meet, finished 29-9.

Justin Gibson wasn't going to set his lineup until after ranking matches today.

Smith and Colby Anderson will wrestle either at 125 or 130 and Eli Marquez and Jacob Brewer will go at either 140 or 145.

The rest of the tentative lineup was to include Tim Hall at 103 pounds, J.J. Herring at 112; Bryson Williams at 119, Blaine Fields at 135, Jed Gibson at 152, Brandon Harkins at 160, Grant Bigby at 171, Tyler Johnson at 189, Victor Strena at 215 and Curtis Chambers at heavyweight.

“Our work ethic is good,” Justin Gibson said. “I can see us getting four or five guys in the state tournament.”

The Wardogs travel to Coweta next Tuesday. Their first home competition won't come until the Miami IBC Bank Mudville Duals Dec. 14-15.