Barlow wins regional title

Senior Cole Barlow works to turn Brandon Morgan of Nucla in the semifinals at the regional tournament. Barlow was the only champ for the Panthers, winning the 152-bracket.

RANGELY I Panther senior Cole Barlow moved up a spot from last year’s second place finish in the regional wrestling tournament, winning the 152-pound bracket last Saturday in Palisade. Rangely finished third as a team and qualified eight of 10 wrestlers for the 2011 Colorado State Wrestling Championships, which start this afternoon in the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver.
Barlow was the No. 1 seed in the tournament and has been ranked second in state 2A classification most of the season by On the Mat Rankings. Barlow pinned two opponents on his way to the finals, both in the second period before winning the title with a 9-5 win over Cody Rapke of Paonia.
“Cole has been doing this all year,” head coach Derek Stolworthy said of his senior champion. “He is a man on a mission and we are looking for him to take it (state title).”
Stolworthy was pleased with his team’s finish and the way his wrestlers prepared for the tournament.
“I was happy with our third place finish, everybody won important matches and everyone knew what they had to do,” Stolworthy said. “They worked very hard, running in the morning, half of them crying and the other half throwing up. They were committed to their job and now they can reap the rewards.”
Jo D Stults (112) and Patrick Brown (heavyweight) both made it to the finals and finished as runners-up to secure their trip to the “Big Show.”
“Both had tough matches in the semis,” Stolworthy said of the other two finalists. “Jo D was all heart, he gave it his all and ended up sticking his kid. Patrick lost to the Norwood kid earlier in the year but we had more gas when we got into some scramble situations. Patrick ended up getting him on his back and sticking him. Both had tough matches in the finals.”
Freshman Lucas Heinle earned his trip to the state tournament, winning the consolation championship in the 125-pound bracket. Blake Wanstedt (135), Colton Coombs (145), Zakk Wenzel (160) and Bo Armstrong (189), also wrestled in the consolation championship round and all finished fourth, which was good enough to qualify.
Taran Smedley (103) and Chad Peterson (140) were both one win away from qualifying.
Stolworthy wanted to thank parents and fans for their support and former coach Jeff LeBleu for his fundraising efforts.
The first round of the state tournament will start today at 3 p.m.
“Everybody has a job and they just need to go out there and do their job,” Stolworthy said of the upcoming state tournament. “Win or lose at state, I know they are going to give us their all, we have no quitters and I’m proud of that.”

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