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Pipher signs with national champion Penn State University

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Photo by Eric Goold Bo Pipher, flanked by his parents Tonya and Andy, signs his Letter of Intent to wrestle for national champion Penn State University. Behind Pipher, left to right, are Paonia coaches Nate Wiggins, Bobby Reed (state champion 1978-1979) a

"Sign your life away, Bo," said Paonia wrestling coach Andy Pipher.

With that, Bo Pipher fulfilled a lifelong dream last Wednesday when he signed a Letter of Intent to wrestle for national champion Penn State.

A stellar high school career that saw Pipher go undefeated the last two seasons and capture three individual state championships came to a close, but his promising collegiate and possibly Olympic career is just beginning.

Pipher's record is so gaudy it almost doesn't seem real. His career record at Paonia was 170-7, including a 119-0 run to end his junior and senior seasons.

His 43 victories by pinfall this past year are a state record for pins in a season, and his 131 career pins are the all-time best in the history of Colorado wrestling.

Through it all, Pipher maintained a cool demeanor and low-key attitude, rarely showing emotion of any kind on the mat. His focus and discipline and desire were constant for his entire high school career, but there was one moment when he indeed contemplated quitting.

"Maybe once when I was in sixth grade," Pipher said. "It was the first time I ever got pinned, at a tournament in Palisade. That was the only time. I don't know if I really wanted to, but I said I did. That'd be probably the only time I've ever even said anything like that."

A wrestler named Miles Wilson, who is at Glenwood Springs now, goes down in history as the only grappler to ever pin Pipher.

"I was beating him like 13-0 and he pinned me," Pipher recalled. "That was the first time I ever got pinned. I think maybe the only time I've ever gotten pinned. So I was kind of upset after that match."

Pipher will wrestle for a Nittany Lions team that has won five of the last six NCAA national championships. His coach will be living legend Cael Sanderson, who was undefeated (159-0) in his career at Iowa State and was an Olympic gold medalist in 2004.

"He was a great wrestler and it's exciting to be wrestling for him," Pipher said about his new coach. "He picked us up in the airport when we went and visited and spent quite a bit of time when we were down there so it was nice to see him and to meet him was pretty cool."

Pipher's signing marked the second year in a row that the Paonia wrestling program produced a Division I wrestler. Jesse Reed, Pipher's longtime friend and teammate, went to the University of Northern Colorado last year after winning four individual statetitles in high school.

"I think it's pretty cool. Definitely shows how many people always help out to help us become better," Pipher said. "We couldn't do it without the six or seven coaches who come into the room every day and travel with us. And all the parents who help us. Definitely nice to have all the people who are there to help."

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