Gable Sieperda Doesn't Compare Himself To Anyone Anymore

Note: This story was corrected to include Sieperda's accomplishments in cross country

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For a long time, Gable Sieperda tried to be like the man he was named after. 

Born in wrestling-mad Iowa, the Central Lyon (IA) senior always understood the significance. It was an honor to be named after Dan Gable, the famed Olympic and World Championship gold medalist and NCAA Champion grappler who hailed from the state. 

Over the years, he spent hours honing his craft on the mat -- double unders, arm bars, and shoots -- to make sure there was no doubt he was living up to that honor. 

But while Sieperda was very good as a wrestler, qualifying for state three times, it wasn't until 2015 that he found out that he was exceptional in something else. He won his first 3200m state title in Iowa as a freshman.

"He was all about wrestling until he fell in love with running," said Dan Snyder, Sieperda's track and field coach at Central Lyon. "A kid like that, he wants to be the best." 

Now, just a few weeks from graduation, Sieperda will finish off his running career as one of the most accomplished athletes in Iowa history, already the owner of two individual titles from 2017 and three overall. 

He won a state title in cross country in 2017, leading George-Little Rock High -- the school he previously attended before transferring -- to a state title. 

On Thursday, he won his second straight and third 3200m race overall in a Class 1A record of 9:09.60 and was eighth in the 400m in 51.85 at the Iowa High School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships in Des Moines. He will finish off his state haul with efforts in the 800m and 1600m on Saturday on Drake University's track.

"He wanted to be the first guy to win four championships," Snyder said. "I told him, 'You have to win three first.' But he's the kind of person who will do whatever he can to win." 

The ironic part is that while Sieperda won't become the wrestle Dan Gable was, he'll still end up going to the same school as him. In November, the multi-talented distance runner signed with Iowa State University. 

"It's been his dream to run there," Snyder said. 

And yet, Sieperda's emergence has come in small doses. 

He operates out of Class 1A, the smallest classification in Iowa, with a graduating class of about "40 to 50 kids," Snyder said. Ultimately, that's meant Sieperda has been a factor on a state scale rather than a national one. 

His times, however, have been impressive. 

In 2017, Sieperda won his 800m in 1:55.12 -- the third fastest time of anyone in Iowa -- and posted a best of 9:15.30 in the 3200m to win by 14 seconds. He lost the 1600 by two seconds, crossing the line in 4:20.33. 

None of those times are probably good enough for a high-achiever like Sieperda in 2018, though.

In a perfect world, the Central Lyon athlete hoped to run 1:52 in the 800m, under 4:10 in the 1600m and under 9:00 in the 3200m. His goals, naturally, have always been to the moon. 

Sieperda came up short on those time goals on Thursday in the half-mile and two-mile, though he's still going to go for broke on Saturday. 

"He wants to put on a show," Snyder said. 

If there's anyone who's doubting Sieperda, Snyder says, he wants them to remember a story from winter. 

A blizzard came through Rock Rapids, the small town of less than 2,000 people where the Central Lyon senior lives in Iowa. 

"That Sunday he knows he has to get out and run, so he heads outside against the wind on a gravel road and heads out on a 12 mile run," Snyder said. 

"He has this mentality where he thinks there are others out there trying to beat him, so if he needs to do whatever he can to prevent that," Snyder added. "So he goes out and does it." 

Importantly, he wasn't trying to be like Dan Gable anymore.

That work ethic and drive was all Gable Sieperda. 

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Contact National Content Producer Cory Mull at or on Twitter @bycorymull