Briar Cliff University wrestler, junior Isiah Lysius

By Wayne Dominowski SSA Editor© Copyright 2018, Siouxland Sports Authority.  All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission

Discipline, determination, passion for the sport, and God

(Sioux City, IA.) – A redshirt junior at Briar Cliff University (BCU), Isiah Lysius – the Chargers’ 133-pounder – is a wrestler who hails from Miami, FL., is glad he’s at the Franciscan school in Sioux City.  Since he came to BCU three years ago, he said, it’s been a good experience.  “The coaches and wrestling team have been like a family-oriented base to me,” he said.  “That’s what drew me to the “The Cliff” – the people.  My teammates are brothers… something I hold dear to my heart,” Isiah said.

Talking about the Charger wrestling program itself, Lysius said that Head Coach Joe Privitere, along with assistant head coach Donaco Watts, and assistant coach Josh Rogers, are the foundation of wrestling at BCU.  “They’ve brought hope and a dynamic, positive attitude to the program, which equates to a belief in ourselves.  They’ve instilled in us that the doors are open to every one of us to become an All-American or National Champion.”

That’s saying a lot, especially to any prospective high school wrestler looking for a home.  They want assurances that the school they enroll is the right one.

“Coming from a large high school in Miami, I found I had to learn everything all over again.  That’s what moving up from prep to college entails,” Isiah explained.  “So, it means a lot to a young wrestler to have coaches who connect with you and have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to pass on what they’ve learned to you.”

For the young athletes out there reading this, Lysius said that it takes two important qualities to make in on the college level.  One, he said, “You have to be coachable, meaning you must be willing to learn and understand what’s being imparted to you.  You must trust your coach and understand what he’s talking about, you’ll be able to break into college wrestling.”

Second, he said, “You have to work hard every day.  There’s a saying that ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard’.  That’s been my guide.  I know I’m not the most talented or most technical person out there, but I’m not going to let anyone work harder than me.”

He said that in his own career, he’s grown.  “Being here with the coaches I have has elevated my game.”

Watching Isiah on the mat during a regular season match, he leaves you with no doubt that he’s a technician. In his case, Lysius said he sticks with his “…tie-ups when it comes to two-on-ones and under-hooks.  If you understand your tie-ups and how to move your opponent, that opens a lot of shots for you.”  For example, he continued, “…for a two-on-one, I can use the snatch-single, the sweep single, shoot a high crotch, and it’s all from the same tie-up.  The moves I employ depends on the tie-up.  You have to have a feel for what you’re going to do.”

It’s a chess game, he said.

To be ready for every circumstance, he said, it takes being in the best condition possible.  “When it comes to strength, I let my strength and conditioning coach, Phil Herkenhoff, to handle that.  With my weight and stamina, I do my two runs a day – once in the early morning, then again after practice.”

Preparation for the match, Isiah said, involves listening to music before a match.  “I reflect on the reason why I chose to wrestle.  For me, that reason is my mother [Dany Morelus], who passed away when I was nine years old.  I want to make her proud.  When I think about my mother, that gives me my drive and allows me to pursue my dreams.”

In his three years, he’s qualified for the Nationals and was third at the Regionals last season.  “This year our hope is to win the Regionals and qualify for the Nationals.  That’s our goal.”

His major is kinesiology (exercise science) with the goal of becoming a college wrestling coach.  Wrestling, he said, has given him discipline – both self and imposed discipline.  “You have to be disciplined in this sport.  If you’re not, you’re not going to make it.  It’s also given me determination.  The thought that I haven’t reached my highest potential makes me determined.”

Isiah is a devout Christian.  “I believe in God.  My mother instilled that in me.  As a Christian, I pray daily.  I pray before and after I wrestle and thank the Lord that I am injury free.  I thank the Lord for me being alive.”

Like many young people, he faced obstacles that could have led him down the wrong path; but, he said, “The way I overcame obstacles was through my Faith.  I have always believed that God has a plan for me.  That’s still the case.  The second thing I did in off-setting obstacles was to find something I had a passion for.  That was wrestling.  It allowed me to get away from distractions.  When I’m in the wrestling room, things that may be bothering me disappear because I am focused on wrestling.”

Sounds like this young man has it all together.