Cole to lead 3 Panther qualifers to state mat meet

Mike Tupa

James Cole will be finishing out his wrestling career on the big stage.

The senior Barnsdall High School warrior outdueled and outhustled all his opponents on the way to a Class 3A regional championship (160 pounds) at Vinita.

Next up for Cole is the state tournament.

Two other Panther grapplers — Landon Lanphear (120) and Joe Smith (152) — also punched their ticket to state — but in slightly less dominating fashion.

Lanphear opened with a win by fall but then fell in the quarterfinals. He bounced back with two wins in the consolation bracket on his way to fifth place.

This year, the state field has been increased to the top five regional wrestlers.

Smith also came in fifth, following the same win-loss pattern as Lanphear.

The state competition is planned for this weekend in Oklahoma City.