SIOUX CITY – Gable Sieperda called it a loaded question.
But it is really the only one he has left to answer.
The Central Lyon senior’s list of accomplishments is impressive and includes a Class 2A cross country state title in the fall with an all-class best 15:18.6, pacing Central Lyon/George-Little Rock to the team title, and he has three individual state track titles, two in the 3,200 meters and an 800 crown.
However, a Drake Relays title has eluded him, and the dominant distance runner is not running away from what that means to him in his final season before he heads off to Ames and Iowa State University to continue his academic and athletic career.
So, what do the Drake Relays mean to him?
“(Drake Relays) means a lot. I honestly think it means more than the state meet,” said Sieperda, who finished third in the 1,600 and fourth in the 3,200 a year ago. “It is everyone, it is the best in Iowa, and that is really important to me, something I strive for every day. Not only the best in Iowa but the best I can be. My No. 1 priority right now is Drake Relays over the state meet, and every single day I wake up I try to get myself more prepared for the Drake Relays than the last day.
“I want to run the 3,200, 1,600 and 800 there so eventually I would like to get all three of those qualified. Honestly, I am just taking it day by day.”
Most athletes across the state haven’t had many meets to try to prepare for Drake or the Sioux City Relays because of the cold weather, but Sieperda doesn’t believe that will hinder him.
“I never use how much time on the track as an excuse,” he said. “I think if you are doing the right thing in practice you know you are going to get better.”
He doesn’t need to be on the track with other runners to be chasing his goals because he is after something he won’t find there.
“(I am chasing) the version of myself last year without a doubt,” he said. “I don’t really worry about what everyone else is doing, I don’t worry about Quik Stats, what times other people are running, I worry about Gable Sieperda.
“That is nothing against anyone in the state. I honestly think on any given day anyone can beat anyone so I respect every single one of my competitors because I know what it takes to be at the level they are at and the sacrifice you have to do, but at the end of the day I have me and my thoughts.”
Sieperda entered the week just hungry to start competing and needing to put a time up to qualify for the Drake Relays.
“I haven’t competed since state cross country,” he said. “It has been a long time for me so I am anxious to get back on the track for sure. We were supposed to have (a meet) this past week Tuesday and Thursday and those got canceled.”
Sieperda was hardly sitting on the couch watching it snow this winter. The two-time state place and three-time state qualifier wrestled for CL/GLR, but had to swallow a bitter 0-2 showing at the state tournament to end his career while wrestling with an injury he did not want to elaborate on.
Despite the tough ending he gives credit to the sport for an outlook that has served him well during his high school career.
“I try to speak my mind and be real with people, not be someone I am not,” he said. “I think a lot of that comes from wrestling because wrestlers are maybe a little straightforward and that is how I like to be.”
Through all of his success, Sieperda has also had to deal with his fair share of hardships including a sophomore track season that was hampered by injuries, costing him the wrestling season and a fully healthy track campaign.
Regardless, he has always had confidence in himself and his abilities and has put it out there for all to see and read. While it may not be the way for all athletes it serves a significant purpose for him.
“At the end of cross country season sophomore year I said we were going to win state and I am sure a lot of people thought ‘pffft, OK,’” he said. “The more you say something, the more you tell people what you want and what you want to accomplish the more it is going to happen.
“If you sit back and kind of hide from reality and what you want there is no way in heck you are going to do it. … If you can’t say it there is no way you are going to do it.”
Sieperda and Central Lyon return to the Sioux City Relays Friday looking to truly get their season kicked into high gear. He wouldn’t mind a repeat of last season when he captured both the 1,600 and 3,200 titles in meet-record times of in 4:19.49 and 9:22.77, respectively.
“Last year’s Sioux City Relays was my coming out party a little bit,” he said. “I didn’t really know where I was at and surprised myself a lot there. Looking forward to doing it again this year.
“It is an awesome opportunity to run fast and run against good competition and see where I am at.”
It was a far different feeling from his sophomore year when he ran the mile while battling stress fractures in his legs.
He will run the 1,600, 3,200 and 800 in Sioux City again with the 800 the only race he didn’t win a year ago as KP-WC’s Alec Still beat him to the line.
Time is ticking on his final season. He is ready to race.