Showing heart at state
DENVER — Justin Barham doesn’t doubt the quality of the wrestler he faced in the 160-pound semifinal round of the Class 4A State Championships on Friday. The Glenwood Springs High School senior, however, was doubting something else afterward.
“He’s big time and he’s really good,” Barham said following his loss by pin to three-time state champion Phil Downing. “He’s a three-time champ, so he should be good. He just has no class. A three-time champ shouldn’t act the way he did.”
Barham’s reaction stemmed from an altercation which followed Downing’s second-period victory, putting the Broomfield senior in the state title match with a chance to become Colorado’s 17th four-time champion and the first since 2010. Barham, who has a chance to place a high as third in the tournament’s consolation bracket, said he took exception to a gesture that Downing made to him after he pinned Barham.
“When you win a match, there are things you do and things you don’t do. You don’t stand over a person and go like this,” said Barham, who followed the comment by thrusting his hips forward. “You don’t do that. Wrestling is a class sport, and you don’t disrespect the sport like that.”
Barham added that he accepted that he lost, but also said he shouldn’t have reacted the way he did by saying something to Downing.
Both wrestlers exchanged words following the match, but they had to be restrained from each other by referees when the post-match discussion became heated. Downing thrust his arms in the air afterward, then gestured to a mixed reaction by people he passed as he walked off the Pepsi Center floor.
Downing wasn’t available for comment following the match.
“He has trouble reacting appropriately sometimes,” first-year Broomfield coach Pat DeCamillis said. “I’m going to hold him accountable for it and we’re all going to hold him accountable for it.”
Downing will wrestle against Keenan Willits of Pueblo County — the same guy who beat Barham in the 4A Region 4 title match last week — for the state title tonight. Barham is guaranteed at least sixth place in the tournament.
Barham was one of three Garfield County wrestlers to reach the 4A semifinals, and he ended up being one of three to drop into the consolation bracket. Glenwood Springs freshman Myles Wilson fell 3-0 in his 138-pound semifinal to Berthoud’s Jimmy Fate. Rifle senior Dallas Rohrig, wrestling at 132 pounds, lost a down-to-the-wire, 6-4 decision to Marcus Martinez of Pueblo South.
Wilson, after a scoreless first period, fell behind 3-0 in the first minute of the second period on an escape and takedown by Fate. The Berthoud sophomore closed off every attempt Wilson made to make a move in the third period, keeping the Glenwood freshman close to the ground for most of the final two minutes.
“You have to look past this right away,” said Wilson, who wrestles in today’s consolation bracket. “You can’t dwell on losses like this.”
Rohrig, thanks to a one-point penalty assessed to Martinez and an escape, took a 4-2 lead into the third period. But a stalling penalty by Rohrig and an escape by Martinez tied it, and Martinez scored a takedown with 19 seconds remaining to reach the state title match.
Eliminated from the tournament was Rifle’s Clayton Coombs, who lost a pair of matches by pin after advancing with a first-round victory on Thursday. Sticking around was Rifle heavyweight Jose Prado, who pinned Fort Morgan’s Jesus Ibarra in the first round of the consolation bracket after a quarterfinal loss earlier in the day.
Two Grand Valley wrestlers are still alive in the consolation bracket. Senior 160-pounder Will Hinkle, who dropped his second-round match to Brenden Gonzalez of Valley by a high-scoring technical fall (24-9), pinned Moffat County’s Stelios Perouis in 4:47. Another Grand Valley senior, Bryan Hegwood, took a big lead early and held off Olathe’s Chayden Harris, the No. 4 overall seed at 182 pounds, 10-7 in the second round of the consolation bracket.
Coal Ridge 170-pounder Cristian Keith, who easily won his first-round match on Thursday, is finished after a pair of losses on Friday. The junior lost a 10-6 decision against Pagosa Springs’ David McRee, and he was eliminated after a loss to Ridgeview Academy’s Maximilian Phillips.
Garfield County’s 126-pound wrestlers saw a quick exit on Friday. Coal Ridge’s Tristin Charboneau lost 8-5 to Centauri’s Angelo Martinez, who held off a late comeback attempt by the Titans’ senior. Also falling early was Grand Valley junior Jacob Hegwood, who lost by major decision, 16-3, to Gary Rhoads of Platte Canyon.
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