GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Justin Barham was all-too appreciative of the cheering section he had Thursday night.
The Glenwood Springs High School senior listened as a majority of the school’s boys basketball team cheered as he wrestled against Palisade’s Broderick Alexander. He didn’t disappoint, either, winning the 160-pound bout by pin in 2 minutes, 30 seconds.
And it seemed like he was in a hurry to get the match done and over with, too. Barham, almost in frustration, slammed Alexander’s left hand down on the mat in the final seconds prior to the pin. It prompted a huge cheer from the Glenwood boys, who Barham recognized and thanked with a smile afterward.
“I told coach Cory [Hitchcock, the Glenwood boys basketball coach] that if he wanted people to come watch his team, they’d better come watch me,” Barham said with a wry smile.
Barham won both of his matches against opponents from Palisade and Summit, helping the Demons manage a split against their opponents during a triangular meet at Glenwood Springs High School. Glenwood easily won their first dual against the Tigers, 72-11, before falling 51-21 to the Bulldogs. Palisade also beat Summit, 78-6, to finish 2-0 on the night.
Barham, who has only lost twice this season, didn’t need quite as much time to win his match against Summit’s Jack Cline, earning a pin in 1:21. A state qualifier from a year ago, Barham said he feels more driven to succeed this season thanks to the additional effort his teammates have been giving.
“My team pushes pretty hard,” Barham said. “It sucks to see them lose, but seeing them work harder and harder makes me want to work that much harder.”
He’s not the only one on Glenwood’s roster who has made an effort to work harder.
Cristian Gonzalez, the Demons’ 195-pound senior, also won twice on Thursday. The first was a forfeit victory against Summit, but the second was a decisive win against Palisade’s Tucker Feldman, who he pinned in 44 seconds.
Gonzalez seems to be making up for lost time since he had to miss his junior season after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament during football season. He’s only lost once so far this season, and he’s been dominant in the victories he’s accumulated.
“I really wanted to wrestle last year, even though I was hurt,” Gonzalez said. “This year, I’m coming back with absolutely everything I’ve got.”
Palisade was without Dalton Hannigan at 132 pounds, who as of last week was the top-ranked 4A wrestler at that weight class. Hannigan was also not available for Palisade’s dual against Rifle on Tuesday.
Myles Wilson of Glenwood, who wrestles for the Demons at 138 pounds, is in his own competition against Gonzalez. He took the lead in that friendly competition, dominating his match against Palisade’s Quintin Day before pinning him in 3 minutes flat.
“We’re in a little competition to see who can finish with the most pins this season,” a smiling Wilson said. “Right now, I have 15 and he has 14. I need to make sure I stay ahead of him.”
Also claiming wins for Glenwood was Joel Ordonez, who beat Palisade’s Tristen Holmes, 10-4, at 145 pounds. Earning a pin against Summit was Mitch Brown, a Roaring Fork senior heavyweight who pinned the Tigers’ Will Flamagon in 1:05.