Paonia head wrestling coach Andy Pipher is awarded his plaque by the Colorado High School Activities Association’s assistant commissioner, Bert Borgmann, after being named the 2A Wrestling Coach of the Year.
On Saturday night, Feb. 18, the Paonia Eagles won the Class 2A state wrestling title, by placing nine wrestlers, including a first place and a runner-up, and winning by a margin of more than 70 points.
Paonia qualified wrestlers in all 14 weight classifications — something done only one other time in the state's history.
Under head coach Andy Pipher, Paonia ended the season with 583 wins, 377 by pin, and 284 losses.
Also on Saturday night, Pipher was named the 2A Coach of the Year by the Colorado High School Activities Association.
"It's a great thing," said Pipher with a laugh after his team received their first-place trophy — their third in seven years. "It's really appreciated. When your peers are voting you in on something, it's a really great thing... It's a great honor."
Pipher said in a 2010 interview with the DCI that he probably would not have gone to college if not for wrestling. "Wrestling was my whole life."
Pipher commended his assistant coaches, Bobby Reed, Mike Reedy, Mark Milner, Nate Wiggins and Tim Austin, for their contributions and devotion to the sport and the team.
In addition to hosting the Screaming Eagles tournament, one of the bigger tournaments of the season, Paonia also hosts the Summer Duals every June, which attracts upwards of 20 teams.
"They just helped us a lot this whole year and that makes a huge difference. That takes a lot of pressure off of me," said Pipher. "A lot of the things they do makes my job real easy."