Lisbon caps brilliant season by leading The Predicament’s Academic All-State teams

By Matt Levins For The Predicament

106 Cobe Seibrecht (Lisbon) dec Jamus Wilson (Alburnett) 11-6

The Lisbon Lions climbed back to the top of the Class 1A mountain on the mat this season, first winning the state duals, then winning the traditional state title while crowning a state champion in freshman Cael Happel.
The Lions also find themselves at the top of their class in the classroom, too.
Lisbon landed two wrestlers on The Predicament’s first team Academic All-State team. The Lions were the only team to land two members on the first team, putting a cap on one of the most successful seasons in recent history for the tradition-rich wrestling school.
Leading the way for the Lions are junior Cooper Siebrecht, who finished third at 132 pounds with a 51-9 record, and junior Kaden Kilburg, who was fourth at 152 with a 46-15 record. He carries a 4.0 grade-point average.
“That’s awesome,” Lisbon Hall of Fame coach Brad Smith said. “It was a great year all the way around, and this just puts a perfect cap on it. This group of kids is one of the best I’ve ever had as far as getting along. The team chemistry was super. They just had great sportsmanship throughout the year. We had six or seven kids in National Honor Society and that’s the most I can ever remember having. They take their wrestling seriously, but in the end they know that academics come first. We haven’t always had that luxury.”
Smith said he played a proactive role in making sure his athletes kept up on their schoolwork and their grades, but for the most part the wrestlers had enough self-discipline to police themselves.
“As a coach, if a kid is not behaving properly in the classroom or isn’t performing well, I am the first one to hear about it,” Smith said. “We check on them and check on their grades regularly. Generally, if I talk to them and keep in contact with their teachers, they pick up their grades and get back on track.”
A total of 14 wrestlers representing 13 schools are on the first team. Only three wrestlers — Noah Fye of New Hampton, Kyle Biscoglia of Waukee and Max Lyon of Western Dubuque — repeated as first team selections.
Pleasantville, which finished tied for 13th in Class 1A at the state tournament, landed a pair of wrestlers on the second team in Will Anthony (sixth at 285) and Griffen McBride (sixth at 160). Each credited their parents, coaches, teachers and the Pleasantville school district for putting them in a position to succeed, both on the mat and in the classroom.
“It’s always an understanding that if you don’t keep your grades up, you won’t wrestle,” Anthony said. “I have to put at least an equal amount of effort in studying as I do wrestling. It’s a learning curve. If you want to have fun, you have to get your homework done and keep your grades up.”
“That’s pretty cool. It’s a great honor,” McBride said. “You have to learn to put first things first. School is the most important thing, even though sports is right up there. But in the end, school is more important because you can’t wrestle the rest of your life. You just have to learn to manage your time wisely.”
Both Anthony and McBride said staying on top of their schoolwork and grades is something the Trojans take pride in. They hold themselves accountable.
“If anyone was on the D and F list, we constantly stayed on top of them to make sure they got their work done and got their grades back up,” said Anthony, who plans to play football at Iowa and major in digital media production. “Getting good grades is something we take pride in as a team.”
“We don’t have any study halls here. We have a block scheduling system, so most of the time we have to do our homework at home,” said McBride, who plans to wrestle at Central College and major in exercise science. “I really have to thank the teachers at our school. They know how to put first things first. Athletics are up there too, but academics is what is going to get us to our lifelong goals in the long run.”
Hinton senior Daniel Bishop, who finished third in Class 1A at 182, represents his school on the second team.
“I don’t spend a whole lot of time on schoolwork outside of school. I try to get everything done during the school day. When I’m in school, I give 100 percent attention to the teachers and what they say,” said Bishop, who plans to attend Augustana College in South Dakota and enter a pre-medicine program. “It’s hard for some high schoolers to pay attention with their short attention spans, but I pay attention so I don’t have to spend time out of school working on school work. If I need to study a little, I will, but I work as hard as I can in school.”
Bishop said his favorite classes are science and math, and with good reason.
“I like something to be right. I don’t like it when there are several answers,” Bishop said. “In math, there is one right answer or you are wrong.”
Perry senior Kaleb Olejniczak came from a basketball family. But he found his niche on the wrestling mat at an early age. He also learned to manage his time wisely, putting as much or more effort into academics as athletics. It paid off when he was named to the first team. Olejniczak isn’t sure what sport he wants to play or what college he wants to attend, but he can punch his ticket just about anywhere with his success in the classroom.
“I have built-in study halls throughout the school day, but I don’t always get everything done. So I go home and get my homework done before I do anything else, like hanging out with friends,” Olejniczak said. “I really like math and science. Those are my two favorite subjects in school.”
Rounding out the first team are Southeast Polk sophomore Cade DeVos, West Des Moines Valley senior Connor Corbin, Osage senior Brock Jennings, West Liberty junior Joe Kelly, Webster City sophomore Drake Doolittle, Fort Madison junior Harlan Steffensmeier, Central Decatur senior Kade Kelso and Maquoketa Valley senior Alex McDowell.
New Hampton landed two wrestlers on the second team, making three total for the first two teams.
This year’s first team had a collective 622-66 record this year, winning 90.4 percent of their matches.