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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Sipes places fourth at States

Eric Weyant
On the Podium. Junior Luke Sipes stands on the Podium after placing fourth in Hershey for the State tournament. Sipes has placed at States since his Freshman year. (Courtesy of Luke Sipes)

On March 7-9, the qualifying wrestlers traveled to Hershey, Pa. to compete in the PIAA State championships. Altoona’s junior Luke Sipes, sophomore Braiden Weaver and freshman Gavin Ciampoli competed in the competition. While Weaver and Ciampoli didn’t place, Sipes placed fourth out of all of Pennsylvania wrestlers for his weight class. This is Sipes’s third time placing in this tournament in his high school career. 

In the 2021-2022 season, Sipes placed fifth in the 152 lb category beating out Klein Laffey from Pine-Richland 3-2 for the fifth place finish. In the 2022-2023 season, Sipes placed seventh in the 152 lb category beating Griffin Gonzalez from Lebanon in a 3-1 victory for seventh place. In the past 2023-2024 season, Sipes placed fourth place in the 152 lb category by beating Griffin Walizer from Central Mountain 1-0 in the Consolation Semi-finals. Then lost to Eli Carr from Hempfield Area High School in a 3-2. 

“It feels good to see a lot of hard work come to fruition through state medals,” Sipes said. “Even though I haven’t accomplished the State title yet, I would do this all over again in a heartbeat with the same results because I love the process of trying to be the best.” 

Sipes believes he got better in every way and is excited with how far he has come. 

“Even though I trained harder than I ever have before, my mentality made the biggest improvement,” Sipes said.  “I stopped wrestling to try to win and started wrestling to score points and win each position/mini battle.” 

According to Sipes, his support system is the reason he did so well, and they are the reason he wants to bring home a title next year 

“My family is always a huge support outlet for me,” Sipes said. “My dad is always asking questions and keeping up with what’s going on. My mom prepares meals for me and helps get me to and from club practice. My brother even helps me cut weight sometimes. On the team specifically, me and Gavin Ciampoli got a lot of good work this year, and I’m thankful for his help. Weaver always pushes me to do better. It takes a village to win, and I’m thankful for every person along my journey.”

Sipes believes he can bring home a championship for the school and his family.

“As of now, I’m training three times a week wrestling at my club practice and lifting/cardio workouts two to three times a week,” Sipes said. “I have two big tournaments, one in the spring and one over the summer. I’m staying disciplined in my training and looking to get out the absolute most I can this next and final year of my high school career. I’m looking forward to getting to compete one last season and try to bring home the championship for myself and my people. I love this sport and can’t wait to keep getting better.” 

Head coach Joel Gilbert believes Sipes has improved in more ways than just wrestling. He also believes Sipes has more potential for next year just as much as this year.

“Luke Sipes has improved in all aspects of his life,” Gilbert said.“Mentally, physically, educationally and especially in wrestling. He got better in every position, and I believe he could come back next year and get to the top of the podium in states.” 

Gilbert is ready and excited for what Sipes could do next year. According to Gilbert, Sipes is on track to break multiple records for his senior year.  

“He’s on course to be a four-time state finisher which is the most we’ve ever had,” Gilbert said. “He’s also on track to be a four-time district and regional finisher which is tied for the most we’ve ever had. I’m excited to see him come back and lead the team for his senior year. He is on track to break the school’s win record. He has a chance to break many Altoona records next season and I’m excited to see him try and accomplish these school records.” 

Assistant coach Michael Ciampoli believes Sipes deserves to succeed and loves to see kids like Sipes work so hard. 

“It’s nice to see when someone like Luke, who puts in as much time and dedication as he does, succeeds and reaps the rewards that are so well deserved,” Ciampoli said.

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About the Contributor
Eric Weyant
Eric Weyant, Reporter
My name is Eric Weyant. I am a sophomore on the Mountain Echo and Horseshoe staff. I am a bass drummer in the band. When I'm not drumming, I'm playing basketball or cornhole. I'm very good at cornhole. In my first tournament, I placed in the top 5. I like playing with my family in Claysburg, and we enter tournaments together. I'm excited to tell you what's going on in the school this year.

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