Sparks’ pin carries Central past Paonia

Photo by Dean Humphrey—Central’s Kyle Jamison comes close to pinning Paonia’s Myles Cumpston on Thursday during the Warriors’ 41-33 win over the Eagles.

For the second time in a week, Jaron Sparks was wrestling in a dual with the team result on the line.

This time the Central High School senior came through, pinning Paonia’s Morgan Rieder on Thursday night to lead the Warriors’ 41-33 victory over Paonia at Brownson Arena.

“I had to get on top and score some points for the team,” Sparks said. “Against Fruita (on Tuesday), it came down to me and I lost. I didn’t want that to happen again.”

Rieder, though, nearly pinned Sparks early in the second period of the 189-pound match, putting Sparks in a cradle, but Sparks was able to push back on Rieder and get the pin.

“When Jaron walked off the mat, I said, ‘I think you do that on purpose to give me gray hair,’ ” Central coach Laurence Gurule said. “In the past, Jaron would get out of position a lot. Now, his position isn’t that bad, but he makes one mistake that puts him out of position. He’s never out of it and he proved it tonight. He did a good job. I’m happy for him.”

Paonia, ranked sixth in Class 2A, won six matches, including five by pin to hang close with Central up to Sparks’ match.

“We made mistakes, but my kids are always going to go for it,” Paonia coach Andy Pipher said. “I know we jump up on the cradle a lot and sometimes it costs us a match, but it’s won us a lot more matches than it cost us.

“It will pay off in the last two tournaments, regionals and state.”

Paonia’s Adrian Lopez (130), Cody Rapke (135), Dustin Braslin (140), K.C. Martin (171) and Zach Solaas (285) pinned their opponents.

Sparks had one of five pins for the Warriors (15-5), who got off to a fast start and held on for the victory.

“All it is, go out and wrestle,” Gurule said. “I told them I can kind of handle losing, if I see we put out an effort. Tonight, they went and wrestled and did a good job. The winning and losing will take care of itself.”

Central’s Lawrence Balerio pinned Garrett Park in 23 seconds for a 6-0 lead. The Class 5A’s top-ranked 112-pounder, Matthew Gurule, pinned Dylan Stroud in 2:30 then Matthew’s cousin, Jaqub Gurule, pinned Matt Hayden at 119.

Zach Short avenged a loss to Fruita Monument’s Dallas Bernal, pinning Michael Brown at 152 pounds.

“It’s just like the other night with Bernal,” Gurule said. “I thought, ‘This kid’s tough. This match could go either way depending on which Zach shows up.”

Anthony Feller didn’t get a pin, but he defeated the 2A third-ranked wrestler, Preston Bonine 16-4 at 125. Willy Holdren (145) and Kyle Jamison (215) won decisions.


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