Wrestlers to compete in annual tornament


Nicole Hawk

Pin your man! Freshman Lucas Sipes wrestles against his opponent Danny Turner from Indiana High School. The final score of the duel was 69-3.

Tiara Weatherwalk, Guest Reporter

On Jan. 22, the Altoona Wrestling team will compete in the Big 7 Tournament. This event will be held in the fieldhouse and there will be several schools participating.

“You’ll have Hollidaysburg, State College, Bellefonte, Jersey Shore, Shickalemi, Bald Eagle, Central Mountain and us,” coach Joel Gilbert said.

Gilbert feels that the team will have good competition at the tournament.

“The best team that’s there would probably be State College and Bald Eagle. I believe they have the best two teams right now.  Bald Eagle would probably be the best AA team in the district and State College are returning district champions with a lot of kids back. So they’ll both be very good, hard to beat,” Gilbert said. 

This is Altoona’s second year hosting the event.

“We have always hosted it, but it’s supposed to go in a rotation. It’s just what we did last year and this year. Next year it should go to Bald Eagle because it’s supposed to go in alphabetical order,” Gilbert said. 

Freshman Lucas Sipes has been wrestling since first grade and is in the 152 pound weight class. According to Sipes, he practices at least once a day in order to prepare. 

Strict diets make me peak in both performance and practice. I run a mile or two almost every day in my house and recover with biofreeze and 20 minutes in a sauna to keep my body right,’’ Sipes said. 

Senior Connor Reimer has other methods of preparation for this tournament.

“I am preparing for this event by working on new moves, so that I have a large pool of moves to choose from when in my match,” Reimer said.

Among being a seven time state placer in his career, he has many other memories. 

“My favorite memory from this year is winning the Panther Holiday Classic. I was losing in the finals 1-0 with 26 seconds left, and I had a great setup to a takedown for the win. Everyone cheered, and I trusted my training and conditioning for the W. My favorite memory over my career is probably in eighth grade. I was a favorite right in the mix to win the state tournament. I ended up losing my third match in the round of 16 much earlier than anticipated, even though I didn’t anticipate losing at all. I didn’t finish wrestling until late that night and had to lose a couple pounds while getting my mentality right coming off a devastating loss. I had to win six matches in a row to advance to the third place match where I won convincingly 3-0. It was awesome to overcome adversity and showed me my true character when things get hard,” Sipes said. 

Reimer has been wrestling for six years and is in the 189 pound weight class. This is his first time competing in this tournament since his freshman year. 

“My favorite wrestling memory would definitely be winning first place at the Big 7 Tournament when I was a freshman,” Reimer said. 

According to Reimer, wrestling comes with many obstacles. 

“My biggest challenge with this sport by far is the conditioning, as it is hard to wrestle a full match without getting tired,” Reimer said. 

Gilbert feels confident in his team’s success.

“Some guys are well prepared, some guys are going to find out that the district is pretty tough and they are going to run into some really good individuals,” Gilbert said.