Gable Sieperda had an exceptional day at this year's State Cross Country meet, winning the individual 2A title and leading his team to a title as well.
Since the Drake Relays in April, Sieperda has taken the Iowa running world by storm, winning almost every single race he has competed in over the last 6 months. Sieperda came in with the fastest 5k time amongst all 4 classes in Iowa with a 15:08, which he ran at the Sibley-Ocheyedan Invitational on September 5th. The senior who competes for George-Little Rock High School in cross country won the 2A title in an impressive 15:18, 45-seconds ahead of the next finisher. His time would have also won in any other class at the State meet. After last year's cross country season, Sieperda decided to focus his winter energies on wrestling, which he credits to his large improvements this past year.
"Wrestling provided me with time off from competitive running while still maintaining a high performance and fitness level. It gave me an opportunity to fully digest the cross country season and to self-reflect. That was very healthy for me in moving forward and figuring out what I needed to change going into track." Outside of wrestling, Sieperda also changed up his running routines. "I focused more on building speed and doing short interval burst type workouts, instead of pounding mileage and doing typical distance workouts."
But it wasn't only the winter off-season that Sieperda had less conventional training. He spent this past summer focusing on baseball, "I started running 20 miles a week in June and continuously built up my mileage until I reached 65 miles in August, where I maxed out at. I never really did any intense workouts in the summer. I focused more on building up my stamina and strength. I also swam 5 miles a week and bikes 20 miles which helped keep my legs fresh and prevented injuries."
So while his training was different from what many would expect, he certainly made it work for him with huge jumps in fitness over the past year. He came into the State meet easily as the favorite to win the 2A title, but would have been a favorite in any other class as well with the fastest 5K time in the state of Iowa and ranked in the top 50 of the US amongst high school boys.
Knowing that he would be going into the race with a chance of winning by a large margin, Sieperda decided to focus his thoughts and energies on his team. "I was focused on how can I get my teammates confident and in the best shape possible for us to win a state title. I knew we would have a huge task in front of us, but I was confident in our abilities. As far as my game plan individually it was to just run hard. I had one of the best weeks of training in my life leading up to the state meet." He ended up winning the 2A race by a 45-second margin and led his team to the win over Mid-Prairie High School with a score of 79 vs 93. Not only did he easily win the 2A race, but his time would have won in any of the other classes as well, a wish fans and Sieperda himself would have liked to see.
After such an exciting end to his high school cross country career, many have been wondering if Sieperda will continue his athletic excellence in college.
"I have taken three official visits thus far, and plan to use all the visits that I am allowed. I have enjoyed my visits, and the entire recruiting process as a whole. It's something you dream about as a little kid and going through it is a very special moment."
While he is definitely planning to run in college, he prefers not to share what schools he is looking at currently, but stayed tuned to our website and social media to be the first to hear when he signs his letter of intent!
To celebrate his exciting win, Sieperda has some final words of thanks for those who have helped him reach the heights he has accomplished.
"One of my favorite quotes is, 'You are a product of your environment,' and that starts at home for me. My parents Steve and Diane and my sister Hannah are my biggest fans and motivators not only in running but in life. The daily sacrifices they make for me to chase my dreams are more than what I can ask for. I am just so thankful for everything they do for me and the support they have provided. I would like to thank my coaches in cross country, track, wrestling, and baseball for pushing me to be the best athlete and person I can be. I would also like to thank my friends and members of the community for the support and help they have provided me with for the past four years. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by the people I am in my life."