Altoona freshman adds regional gold to his resume – Altoona Mirror

B1 Sipes

Luke Sipes wrestles Kaemen Smith (Catherdral Prep) in the 152 lb final. Luke won by decision 3-2. Photo for the Mirror by Chuck Meyers

By John Hartsock

Luke Sipes is just a freshman wrestler for the Altoona Area High School wrestling team, but he’s already set some very lofty goals for himself.

“Honestly, my whole life, I’ve wanted to become a district, regional and state champion in high school,” Sipes said. “Those have been been the goals that I’ve been working super hard toward.”

Sipes has checked off two of the boxes so far this season. After winning the District 6 Class 3A championship at 152 pounds a week ago, Sipes followed up with a Northwest Class 3A Regional Tournament title Saturday night by posting a 3-2 victory over Cathedral Prep senior Kaemen Smith in the championship match at the Altoona Area High School Fieldhouse.

Sipes (33-1) will try to complete his championship trifecta next weekend in the state tournament at Hershey’s Giant Center.

Sipes will be joined in Hershey by Altoona teammate Luke Hileman, a senior 106-pounder who finished second in the regional.

Hileman dropped a tough 8-5 decision to St. Marys freshman Aiden Beimel in the regional championship match.

Sipes wrestled a smart, close-to-the vest defensive style throughout the regional that served him well. After edging Selinsgrove’s Aiden Gaugler, 6-5 in Saturday’s semifinals, Sipes came up with a pivotal early third-period takedown to defeat Smith, who will compete on the NCAA Division I level with the Naval Academy’s wrestling program.

“He’s a senior who is real experienced and is a good wrestler,” Sipes said of Smith. “You got to do what you’ve got to do. I just went out there and got the job done.”

Altoona coach Joel Gilbert saluted Sipes for exhibiting sound technique in the championship bout.

“He wrestled a very smart match,” Gilbert said. “When you get to this level, you only get a few opportunities to open up against your opponents, and he took advantage of those opportunities.

“It was a huge win and a great confidence booster for him heading to the state tournament,” Gilbert added. “He has confidence that he can go up against anybody in the state.”

Hileman, a District 6 champ at 106, built an early 5-0 lead in histitle bout against Beimel, before the St. Marys freshman battled back to tie the score on a third-period takedown and win the match on a tilt for three near-fall points in the closing seconds.

“It wasn’t what I was planning for,” said Hileman (32-4). “Hopefully, next week at states, it will be a different story. I got really tired at the end of the match. My conditioning has been something that I’ve struggled with all year.”

Hileman – who pinned Selinsgrove’s Landyn Lukens in 2:33 in the semis – took two years off wrestling after competing as a freshman.

“Luke just got caught in some bad situations,” Gilbert said of Hileman’s championship match. “If Luke puts together a better third period, that’s his match.

“We’ll work with him on his conditioning this week, and hope that will help him when he gets to the state tournament.”

Two take sixth

The top three finishers at each weight class at the regional advanced to states. Altoona senior 145-pounder Will Young and Hollidaysburg senior 172-pounder Aaron Sleeth both placed sixth in the tournament after reaching the consolation semifinals Saturday.

Young opened the regional with two victories Friday to reach Saturday’s semifinals, but was tech-falled there, 18-1 in 2:50 by eventual regional champion and returning state medalist Jude Swisher of Bellefonte.

Young lost in the consolation semifinals, 8-5 to District 10 champion Steffan Lynch of Cathedral Prep, then dropped his fifth-place match, 8-3 to General McLane’s Kyle Cousins.

“Will never started wrestling until the ninth grade, but he had an outstanding tournament here to end his career,” Gilbert said.

Sleeth made it to the consolation semifinals for the Golden Tigers at 172, where his season ended with a 7-3 loss to Cathedral Prep’s Kelyn Blossey, a District 10 runner-up.

Sleeth, a four-time regional tournament qualifier who won the District 6 Class 3A championship at his weight class this year, pinned Mifflin County’s Avery Aurand in 2:14 in the second-round consolations Saturday before pounding out a 3-0 decision over District 10 champion Magnus Lloyd of General McLane in the third-round consolations to reach the consy semis.

Sleeth forfeited his fifth-place match to Shikellamy’s Gage Wolfe.

“He got into some tough matches,” Hollidaysburg coach Christian Harr said of Sleeth. “We knew that both the District 10 kids he wrestled are very good, but he went out there and performed.

“Being a District 6 champion and a four-time regional qualifier is certainly something he can be proud of,” Harr said. “He definitely put his best foot forward.”

Learning lessons

Hollidaysburg senior 215-pounder Nick Eppihimer pinned General McLane’s Russ Witmer in 4:50 in the second-round consolations before being eliminated from the tournament with a 7-1 loss to District 10 champion Troy Peterson of McDowell in the third-round consolations.

“Nick has only been wrestling for three years, but he went out there swinging,” Harr said of Eppihimer.

Freshmen Carson Krupka (106 pounds) and Mitchell Baronner (138), along with sophomores Noah Horne (120) and Rally Hoover (285), each gained valuable experience for the Golden Tigers in this year’s regional. All were eliminated with second-round consolation losses Saturday, with Krupka pinning Aubree Donahue of DuBois in 4:47 in a first-round consy bout, and Horne pinning Carrick’s Steven Mrzlack in 2:23 in a first-round consolation match.

“This was a great learning experience for those guys,” Harr said. “Hopefully, it will make them a little bit hungrier to compete at the next level.”

Other Altoona wrestlers eliminated in Saturday’s wrestlebacks included: 113-pound freshman Nick Irwin, who was ousted in the second-round consolations after pinning Obama Academy’s Cameron Suzencky in 35 seconds in a first-round consolation match; 120-pounder Eli Wisor, who exited in the first round-consolations, and 172-pounder Eli Houser, who was eliminated in the second-round consolations.

KEY, TEAM SCORING: 1, WPT–Williamsport, 153; 2, MC–Mifflin County, 149; 3, CM–Central Mountain, 147; 4, CLF–Clearfield, 127.5; 5, SC–State College, 124.5; 6, CP–Cathedral Prep, 123.5; 7, MCD–McDowell, 77; 8, BEL–Bellefonte, 76.5; 9, tie, SM–St. Marys and SEL–Selinsgrove, 65; 11, SHIK-Shikellamy, 61; 12, GM–General McLane, 59; 13, A–Altoona, 56; 14, JUN–Juniata, 44; 15, MEAD–Meadville, 43; 16, DUB–DuBois, 36; 17, BRAD–Bradford, 28, 18, HOL–Hollidaysburg, 20; 19, PUNX–Punxsutawney, 19.5; 20, tie, CAR–Carrick and J–Johnstown, 3. BRASH–Brashear; ALL–Allderice; E–Erie; OA–Obama Academy; PER–Perry; WAR–Warren; WEST–Westinghouse.


(Winners and losers advance to state tournament)

106–Beimel, SM, dec. Hileman, A, 8-5. 113–Nasdeo, WPT, dec. Allison, MC, 6-4. 120–Cunningham, SC, maj. dec. C. Smith, JUN, 16-3. 126–Perry, CM, pinned VanDee, CP 7:26. 132–Simcox, CM, dec. B. Bower, WPT, 5-1. 138–Manville, SC, maj. dec. Weaver, CM, 12-2. 145–Swisher, BEL, dec. R. Bower, WPT, 7-0..

152–Sipes, A, dec Smith, CP, 3-2. 160–Everly, MC, dec. Morrone, WPT, 2-1. 172–Wehler, SM, dec. McGonigal, CLF, 3-1. 189–Shoemaker, MC, maj. dec. Chamberlain, CLF, 11-2. 215–Pavlechko, SC, dec. Wagner, MC, 4-3. 285–Crews, WPT, dec. Billotte, CLF, 3-2.



(Winners advance to state tournament)

106–Oler, CP, dec. Lukens, SEL, 6-4. 113–Davis, CLF, dec. Gould, PUNX, 6-2. 120–Johnson, MC, dec. Hurd, CP, 5-2. 126–Collins, CLF, dec. T. Smith, JUN, 10-6. 132–O’Shea, BEL, dec. McGregor, SHIK, 1-0. 138–Thompson, BRAD, dec. Cunningham, MC, 4-3.

145–Walizer, CM, dec. Lynch, CP, 5-4. 152–Gaugler, SEL, dec. Weaver, WPT, 8-7. 160–Butterfield, MCD, dec. Serafini, CM, 3-2. 172–Blossey, CP, dec. Newby, SC, 4-3. 189–Buzzell, MEAD, pinned Teats, SEL, 1:49. 215–Peterson, MCD, dec. Kovalick, CLF, 8-5. 285—Spires, GM, pinned Sroka, MCD, 4:39.


106–Berger, GM, dec. Fuller, MEAD, 7-2. 113–Choates, BEL, dec. Reed, SHIK, 7-6. 120–Sallot, MCD, dec. Ananea, CM, 10-4. 126–Harris, WPT, dec. Campbell, SC, 5-0. 132–Orr, DUB, dec. Aumiller, MC, 3-1 OT. 138–Long, BEL, won by forfeit over Barr, CLF.

145–Cousins, GM, dec. Young, Altoona, 8-3. 152–Simmons, MCD, dec. Corter, CM, 5-2. 160–Laktash, BRAD, dec. Mallory, CP, 7-0. 172–Wolfe, SHIK, won by forfeit over Sleeth, HOL. 189–White, DUB, dec. Galentine, CM, 3-1. 215–Rebuck, SHIK, won by forfeit over Miller, SEL. 285–Blackwell, CM, dec. Focht, SC, 3-2.


106–Hileman pinned Lukens,, 2:33; Beimel, maj. dec. Ohler, 9-0. 113–Nasdeo, tech fall. Choates, 15-0, 4:22; Allison pinned Davis, 3:46. 120–Cunningham tech. fall Ananea, 17-0, 3:33; C. Smith, dec. Johnson, 3-2. 126–Van Dee pinned T. Smith, 5:37; Perry maj.dec. Collins, 9-0. 132–B. Bower, maj. dec. O’Shea, 12-1; Simcox maj. dec. McGregor, 17-4. 138–Manville tech. fall Cunningham, 18-3, 4:20; Weaver pinned Long, 2:12. 145–Swisher, tech. fall Young, 18-1, 2:50; R. Bower, dec. Walizer, 2-0.

152–Sipes dec. Gaugler, 6-5; Smith pinned Weaver, 5:55. 160–Morrone dec. Serafini, 4-1; Everly dec. Butterfield, 5-2. 172–Wehler dec. Blossey, 5-0; McGonigal dec. Wolfe, 9-5 OT. 189–Chamberlain dec. Galentine, 5-0; Shoemaker pinned Teats, :36. 215–Pavlechko pinned Miller, 2:26; Wagner dec. Kovalick, 5-3. 285–Crews maj. dec. Focht, 12-3; Billotte dec. Spires, 6-0.


106–Lukens dec. Fuller,4-0; Oler, maj. dec. Berger, 9-2. 113–Gould pinned Choates, 2:13; Davis pinned Reed, 4:14. 120–Hurd pinned Ananea, 2:37; Johnson pinned Sallot, 4:10. 126–T. Smith pinned Harris, 3:00; Collins pinned Campbell, 4:09. 132–O’Shea dec. Orr, 7-0; McGregor maj. dec. Aumiller, 17-5. 138–Cunningham dec. Barr, 5-4; Thompson dec. Long, 7-2. 145–Walizer dec. Cousins, 10-3; Lynch dec. Young, 8-5.

152–Gaugler maj. dec. Corter, 9-1; Weaver maj. dec. Simmons, 11-1. 160–Serafini dec. Laktash, 2-0; Butterfield pinned Mallory, 4:02. 172–Newby dec. Wolfe, 3-0; Blossey dec. Sleeth, 7-3. 189–Buzzell pinned Galentine, 2:09; Teats dec, White, 5-4. 215–Peterson pinned Miller, 2:57; Kovalick pinned Rebuck, 2:11. 285–Sroka dec. Focht 3-1; Spires maj. dec. Blackwell, 13-3.


(Listing results of area wrestlers).

172–Sleeth, HOL, dec. Lloyd, GM, 3-0. 215–Peterson, MCD, dec. Eppihimer, HOL, 7-1.


(Listing results of area wrestlers)

106–Bomberger, JUN, dec. Krupka, HOL, 2-1. 113–Reed, SHIK, pinned Irwin, A, 0:43. 120–Hurd, CP, pinned Horne, HOL, 2:22. 138–Spires, GM, pinned Baronner, HOL, 2:19. 172–Miller, SEL, pinned Houser, A, 2:30; Sleeth, HOL, pinned Aurand, MC, 2:14. 215–Eppihimer, HOL, pinned Wismer, GM 4:50.


(Listing results of area wrestlers)

106–Krupka, HOL, pinned Donahue, DUB, 4:47. 113–Irwin, A, pinned Suzencky, OA, :35. 120–Poe, BRAD, dec. Wisor, A, 4-0. 138–Baronner, HOL, bye. 172–Houser, A, bye.

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