LISBON — Cobe Siebrecht has had gold at his fingertips.
The Lisbon senior had his hand smacked away and was left holding silver. An accomplishment he realizes many would gladly trade him, but one that left him wanting more the last two seasons.
“It sucked,” said Siebrecht, who lost to Underwood four-time state champion Alex Thomsen in the 126-pound final last season. “It’s good that I made it there and all, but it would be way better if I won it.”
“I walked away mad both times I lost, but it definitely made me a better person and athlete because not winning makes me unsatisfied. I’m not saying that if I had won that I would be satisfied, but saying I’m not as good as I can be yet. … I want to accomplish my goal of winning a state title. It’s definitely pushed me to get better by not winning it.”
After two straight runner-up performances, Siebrecht opens his senior campaign with sights set on that elusive state championship. The 138-pounder opens the season ranked first in Class 1A, joining two-time state titlist Cael Happel (126) atop the statewide polls.
“He’s more all business this year, which I think has made a big difference, but he still likes to have fun,” Lisbon Hall of Fame coach Brad Smith said. “He’s got everything in the right perspective.”
The effort started well before the Lions’ official practices. Siebrecht dedicated many hours during the summer and fall, wrestling and lifting. He said he worked out three to four days a week, lifting with Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club Coach James Kelly.
Siebrecht said he became bigger, stronger and better. The thought of second place still pushes him when his muscles tighten or his body struggles to finish a workout. The extra effort could be the difference of reaching the podium’s top step or settling for one short.
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“It’s definitely fresh in my mind,” Siebrecht said. “If I’m doing extra reps or in a hard set, I’m thinking it is third period, short time, I’m down by a point and need a takedown. It helps me keep going and try to get that last couple of reps in, like getting that last takedown to win the state title.”
He has already seen the hard work pay dividends. Siebrecht competed in the 2018 Freak Show wrestling tournament in October at Las Vegas. He captured the 18u 138-pound crown in a 95-man bracket, going 7-0 with six pins and a technical fall.
“It had a lot of different styles than what we’d see in Iowa,” Siebrecht said. “I just went out, had fun and did my best. It worked out.
“Going out there and dominating the tournament really boosted my confidence. All the hard work that I’ve done paid off for that tournament. I had a couple state champs in that bracket, too, that I pinned as well.”
Smith said that Siebrecht is the most improved wrestler in the defending traditional state team champion’s room. He can be found capping a tough practice with 40 extra pullups. Siebrecht enjoys every moment of sweat and toil.
“He’s a lot more focused this year than he has been in the past,” Smith said. “I know he doesn’t want to be a runner-up a third time. He has his goals set high.”
Siebrecht posted a 53-3 record last season, improving his mark to 139-28. Smith said Siebrecht has unique skills, relying on feel and mat awareness to overcome opponents.
“Technically, he does a lot of things you don’t really teach,” Smith said. “You think you’re going to have him and score on him in a situation and all of a sudden he’s on top. He’s really savvy.
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“He has really good leg passes and likes to roll around, but he doesn’t put himself in bad position either. He always figures a way to get on top.”
Siebrecht said he isn’t as strong as some others but makes up for it with a stingy and stubborn attitude on the mat, doing whatever it takes to score and avoid allowing points.
“Scrambling is just not wanting to get taken down and getting the takedown,” Siebrecht said. “I just don’t like getting taken down in practice, let alone in matches. That’s just what I do.”
Siebrecht the last three seasons, competed alongside his older brother, Cooper, who won the 1A 145 title before joining the Minnesota State roster. He wants to follow in his footsteps as a leader and champion.
“It was good,” said Siebrecht, who welcomes freshman 106-pound brother, Cade, to the team this year. “I always like watching my teammates, brothers and friends succeed at something they want to do.
“Watching Cooper and Cael win a state title, it’s good for them. I’m glad they did it. It also motivates me to want to be like them and win a state title as well.”
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