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Southmoreland grappler Lambie fills key role

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Kelly Vernon | The Independent-Observer
Southmoreland's Cole Lambie competes in a home match recently against Yough. The sophomore had an 18-6 record as of Jan. 21.
Top high school sports
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

The Southmoreland wrestling team had a hole to fill this season as two-time PIAA qualifier Austin Griffiths moved up a weight class to 113 pounds.

No problem.

Enter sophomore Cole Lambie, who transferred back to the school district he attended through sixth grade after wrestling at Hempfield last season.

Lambie, 16, had complied an 18-6 record for the Scotties as of Jan. 21, but according to coach Ryan Shaw he's brought other intangibles.

“Cole has a lot of heart,” Shaw said. “That's something a coach can't coach. We can give him all the extras, but when you have that heart, dedication and will to win, I can't coach that. That's been the pleasant surprise. .... With Austin moving up. We didn't know how we were going to fill the hole.”

Consider it filled. Lambie is ranked third in the WPIAL at 106 pounds in Class AA.

In Lambie's mind, the season has gone well

“I'm starting to wrestle better, getting more into my moves, more inspiration,” Lambie said. “It's gone better than I thought. I didn't think I would win that many. I didn't think I was going to do that (well).”

The season also included a third-place finish in the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Tournament at 106 pounds after defeating Matt Sizka of Kiski Area by a 6-5 score. Lambie lost in the semifinals to Devin Brown of Franklin Regional, who is ranked No. 1 in the state at that weight class in Class AAA.

He said his accomplishments in the tournament helped to boost his confidence.

His coach has seen a steady progression from Lambie throughout the season.

“Once I got into the first month of the season, I thought I would see some success out of Cole,” Shaw said. “He may have exceeded (our expectations) a little bit right now, but he has a taste of winning and he's working hard in the room and I don't think he wants the season to end any time soon.”

Lambie said he has been wrestling since he was 5 years old and enjoys the physicality the sport presents. He also admits he's happy at Southmoreland.

“There's better people to wrestle with,” Lambie said.

Those people include Griffiths and Jake Beistel (285 pounds), who also qualified for the PIAA tournament last season, wrestlers he doesn't mind trying to emulate.

“It makes me want to be like them, train harder to get like them,” Lambie said about being on a roster with that duo.

Another trait Lambie has displayed is versatility.

In a Jan. 15 match against Yough, he wrestled at 113 pounds and defeated Zach Charles 6-1.

“It went (well),” Lambie said. “The kid was a little bit bigger. ... I just go out there and prove that if you're lighter or not the best, you can still go out there and win.”

In many matches Lambie is undersized with respect to his opponent. A prime example of that was his match against Charles.

“He was down on the bottom and I could tell the weight was bothering him a little bit,” Shaw explained. “I just pointed at my chest a couple times and said just use this and he got out. We have that communication.”

Lambie said he'd like to wrestle in college some day, but has his sights set squarely his sophomore season

“(I) just (want) to keep winning and place in individuals,” Lambie said. “Keep my grades good and show that I can go out there and wrestle.”

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or

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