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January 08, 2014
DALLAS — Senior wrestler Riley Sipe isn't shying away from expectations. Sipe and the Dallas wrestling team have their eyes on one goal: A state championship.
"If you're a varsity wrestler, you're expected to do well at tournaments, to train your hardest and go the six minutes -- or even more as most people would like to joke about me," Sipe said.
Sipe has a reputation among his teammates for taking part in overtime matches.
Riley Sipe (left) took third at the Pacific Coast Wrestling Championships on Friday and Saturday.
Dragons coach Tony Olliff said he's not sure exactly how many overtime matches Sipe has taken part in, but it's a high number.
"He's probably won the most overtime matches of any wrestler I've ever coached," Olliff said.
Sipe, who competes in the 220-pound weight class, helped the Dallas wrestling team win the Pacific Coast Wrestling Championships on Friday and Saturday and the Northwest Duals tournament Dec. 27-28 at Westview High School near Beaverton.
If he succeeds in his quest for a Class 5A individual state title, there will likely be more than a few overtime matches along the way. But while his teammates may joke with him, Sipe learned what can be the deciding factor.
"Overtime has kind of been my thing for the past couple of years," Sipe said. "The thing most people don't understand about overtime is overtime is a battle of heart. Yeah, it sucks. It's not the best, but why go through it? It's a battle of heart. It's either you give up or the other person gives up."
Sipe began wrestling much later than most, starting in his eighth-grade year because the team needed a heavyweight wrestler. Sipe worked to learn the basics of wrestling as quickly as possible. Now, in his final season at Dallas High, he's turned into one of the team's leaders.
"Riley is very difficult to score on, that's probably his biggest attribute," Olliff said. "He's a very difficult guy to wrestle against and penetrate his defense. He only does one or two offensive moves per match, but if he's successful, he comes away with a win."
As Sipe has his eyes set on a state title, likely standing in his way will be West Albany's Steely Smith, a wrestler Sipe's never beaten. While Sipe’s defense may keep Smith at bay, the key depends on Sipe's offense.
"In order to do that, he has to come up with some kind of offense," Olliff said.
Sipe is confident he's up to the task.
"I can say personally there are things I need to tweak and get better at," Sipe said. "I guarantee there's going to be a complete and utter change."