Virginia

Student Success Stories

Tom Sippie
Class of 2016
Major: Health and Physical Education
Lynchburg College

Winning a national championship requires a lot of “pain and torture,” says Tom Sippie ’16, but it also brings a lot of satisfaction.

“It’s a real accomplishment,” he said modestly after winning the 400-meter race in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championship in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2014. His was the first indoor national championship for the Hornets since 2001.

Sippie’s mark of 47.86 seconds set a school record. He was just a sophomore athletically when he set the national mark so he has two more years ahead of him to keep LC in the upper echelons of the 400.

“Tom is what every coach wants in an athlete,” said Zachary Haupt, head track and field coach. “He not only works hard but takes the time to learn about his event and his body so that he understands all aspects of what’s going on. Working with Tom this year has been great I look forward to two more years of us working together.”

Sippie’s success is all the more impressive considering that he broke his leg while pole vaulting as a junior in high school and spent nine months on crutches.

He attended Ocean Community College in his hometown of Toms River, New Jersey, for a year before transferring to LC on the recommendation of his high school coach, who knew Dr. Jack Toms ’69, LC’s longtime track coach and athletic director.

Like many runners, Tom has a chronic issue that sometimes requires him to pull back a bit. He is nursing a tight hamstring that kept him from running outdoor as a freshman. He said he had to be careful at the outdoor ODAC Championship, where he was content with a second-place finish.

Tom aspires to be a middle or high school coach and physical education teacher.

He is glad he came to run at LC. “It’s like a second family to me,” he said. “I love the small campus feeling. I really like everything about it.”
 


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