Peppo places first at USA Wrestling meets

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2000

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / March 4, 2000

LAPLACE – Many younger brothers of athletes would like to follow in the footprints of their older siblings.

For Ryan Peppo, those footprints lead to the wrestling mat.

Peppo recently captured first place at both the USA Wrestling Louisiana state tournament Feb. 12 at Jesuit High School and at the Scorpion Classiclast weekend at Grace King.

But Ryan is not the first Peppo to have success on the wrestling mat. Twoyears ago, his brother, Nick, placed second in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Division I state meet while wrestling for East St. JohnHigh School. Nick had earlier won both the city and regional championshipsand finished his high school career with four straight appearances in the state tournament. And it was Nick who got Ryan interested in the sport.”I went to most of his tournaments,” Ryan Peppo said. “I knew I would likedoing that so I started going to wrestling camps and Nick started teaching me. He started showing me all the moves he started.”Two years later, Ryan, now an eighth-grader, has just completed his second year wrestling for Brother Martin High School. Ryan also wrestled lastsummer for the Blue Knights, a local wrestling club that Nick started. He iscurrently wrestling in USA Wrestling tournaments as a member of the Crusader Wrestling Club of which Nick is a coach.

Ryan opened the USA Wrestling season at the Louisiana State Tournament.

Wrestling in the schoolboy class, Ryan won his first match with a pin in the first round. After a 6-3 victory in the second round, Ryan rallied for a 6-5victory in the finals.

Ryan also won three matches at the Scorpion Classic, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the state. He dominated his matches, winning thefirst by a pin in the second round after leading 7-1, and the second by a score of 16-4. He went on to win the championship by a score of 12-4 andcurrently has a career record of 20-5.

“Practice,” Ryan said of what he attributes his success to. “All the practicewe do after school.” Brother Martin practiced from 3:15-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9-11a.m. Saturdays during the season. With the Crusader Wrestling Club, Ryan isat practice from 6-8 Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Ryan will continue to wrestle in USA Wrestling tournaments the rest of this spring. He is looking forward to being on the varsity squad next year for theCrusaders who have won the last two Division I state championships. As forhis own goals, Ryan wants to continue the success that Nick got started.

“I want to be a state champion at least two times,” Ryan said.

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