Spark from Sparks lifts Central to victory over Grand Junction

PHOTO BY DANIELLE STOMBERG— Central High School’s Matthew Gurule and Dylon Thompson wrestle during Thursday night’s match at Central high School.

Central High School wrestling coach Laurence Gurule had to be thinking: Here we go again.

The Warriors, who had lost their previous two Southwestern League dual matches by razor-slim margins, were on the verge of falling behind nine matches into Thursday’s dual against crosstown rival Grand Junction.

Then Central got a spark from Sparks.

Jaron Sparks, the Warriors’ 171-pounder, overcame a 6-1 deficit, scoring six points in the final 20 seconds to edge Ethan Minnick 7-6.

That got Central rolling and the Warriors went on to a 51-17 victory.

“As Daniel (Muniz) won, I knew I had to get the win,” Sparks said.

He was up immediately after Muniz, who pinned Aaron Minnick in their 160-pound bout.

Muniz, suffering from injuries to both shoulders, was wrestling for the first time since the Warrior Classic last month.

Muniz’s victory gave Central a 21-17 lead, but Ethan Minnick could have tied the match for the Tigers with a major decision over Sparks.

The two have faced off against each other over the years.

“It’s always been off and on,” Sparks said of he and Ethan Minnick trading victories. “He’s a great wrestlers and a good friend.”

Sparks got the temporary bragging rights in the friendship by getting an escape with 20 seconds remaining, then getting a takedown to pull to within 6-4 and immediately getting Minnick on his back.

“Jaron didn’t wrestled well at the beginning,” Gurule said. “At the very end he did a nice throw.”

That throw got Sparks a near fall and three points as the final buzzer sounded to take the 7-6 win.

“It fired everybody up,” Gurule said.

The Warriors won the dual’s remaining seven matches to take the team victory.

“Junction beat us last year,” Sparks said of providing more motivation for the Warriors.

Grand Junction has been beset by injuries this season. No less than five Tigers who began the season on the varsity were not able to wrestle Thursday.


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