Prep Wrestling

Lisbon sets school record with team title at Mount Vernon Invitational

Lions claims 7 titles; Will Esmoil beats ranked foe for 1 of 2 West Liberty crowns; Dye, Frazer, Wuhlfekuhle also win

Lisbon's Max Kohl celebrates his pin of Muscatine's Tim Nimley in the 170 pound championship match of the Mount Vernon I
Lisbon’s Max Kohl celebrates his pin of Muscatine’s Tim Nimley in the 170 pound championship match of the Mount Vernon Invitational at Mount Vernon High School on Saturday, December 14, 2019. (Cliff Jette/Freelance for The Gazette)

MOUNT VERNON — Brad Smith has had some great teams during his two tenures as Lisbon’s head wrestling coach.

During each stretch, he has had teams sweep state titles and receive national recognition. This year’s squad recently entered national rankings at No. 36. The current Lions also did something none of their predecessors have done.

According to Smith, Lisbon tallied a program record 336 1/2 team points in an individual tournament, winning the Mount Vernon Invitational on Saturday at Mount Vernon High School. The Lions crowned seven champions, nearly doubling runner-up Davenport Assumption’s total of 171.

“All the way up and down our kids are solid,” Smith said. “They’re working hard. They have a great attitude. I couldn’t ask any more of our kids right now.”

The Lions were simply dominant — as individuals and as a team. They posted a whopping 28 bonus point victories, including 22 pins and three technical falls. Lisbon pushed 10 into the finals, had three finish third and all 14 place fifth or better in the 15-team field.

“These guys have been wrestling real well,” said Smith, whose team placed second at Independence last weekend with ranked teams from all three Iowa classes and four other states. “We wrestled great last weekend. We scored a lot of bonus points, a lot of falls. Same thing (Saturday).”

The highly-ranked hammers did their thing. Three-time state titlist Cael Happel (138), returning state champ Robert Avila Jr. (132) and top-ranked 195-pounder Cole Clark rolled by pinning their way through their brackets.


Cade Siebrecht (113), Brandon Paez (120), 170-pounder Max Kohl and heavyweight Brant Baltes also won crowns.

Kohl earned a notable victory in the finals, overcoming a 4-1 deficit after the first period by pinning Muscatine’s 3A ninth-ranked Tim Nimley in 2:17 in the finals.

Iron sharpens iron is a term widely used in wrestling circles and tough practice partners have paid dividends for Kohl in competition.

“It gives me the boost,” Kohl said. “It’s a long grind with all these guys every day, so just getting a win under your belt shows how much you worked and put into it and what you’re getting out of it.”

Kohl surrendered two takedowns in the first, but hit a sit out to open the second period. He got Nimley out of position and reversed him to his back, saying he held on for dear life.

“Max is dangerous,” Smith said. “He’s got some pretty good stuff. He’ll catch ya and when he gets you on your back it’s pretty much a done deal.

“He’s a sophomore, so we’re actually pretty young. The future looks bright.”

Kohl wasn’t even expected to be in the final, according to the seeding. He took the mat with a figurative chip on his shoulder and walked away with gold.


“I got seeded third in the bracket,” Kohl said. “I just thought I have to prove something.”

Paez decked Assumption’s 2A 10th-ranked Ethan Forker in 3:39 of the 120 final. He scored two takedowns and three nearfall, building a 7-0 lead before the fall.

Smith said Paez could wrestle as low as 113 but remained on full feed at the higher weight.

“He really proved himself,” Smith said. “He’s a great technician.

“I was really impressed with him, and the other guys that won as well, but Brandon was a highlight of the day for me.”

West Liberty was the only other team with multiple champions. Class 2A top-ranked Will Esmoil (152) and Kobe Simon at 220 won titles.

Esmoil remained unbeaten with an 8-2 victory over Lisbon’s Marshall Hauck, who is fourth in 1A. It was his second win over Hauck already this season.

Esmoil recorded a pin and technical fall to reach the championship match.

“I think I wrestled pretty well,” Esmoil said. “A lot of shots and I executed what I needed to do. In the finals, it felt pretty good to win again.”

Like the previous meeting, Hauck scored the opening takedown. Esmoil controlled the rest of the match, however, and scored the final eight points.

In the second period, Esmoil shot in and drove across Hauck, picking him off the mat and taking him to his back for a four-point move.


“We practice our shots every day,” Esmoil said. “The high-crotch is (West Liberty Coach Ian) Alke’s favorite shot. I had him elevated and knew I could come in through the legs and take him to his back and that’s what I did.

“On top I just rode him out. He wasn’t doing much. I was conserving my energy, too.”

Esmoil is a two-time state medalist, earning a runner-up finish last season. He wants to climb one more big step at the end of the season, but is focused on the many little steps it takes to get there.

“My coach keeps telling me time after time to have fun,” Esmoil said. “Just go out there one match at a time. I’m taking it that way, but the big goal is a state championship.”

Sigourney-Keota’s Mason Dye (126), Dyersville Beckman’s Evan Wuhlfekuhle (182) and 160-pounder Ayden Frazer, of Washington (Iowa) also won titles, notching pins in the finals.


At Mount Vernon

Teams — 1. Lisbon 336.5, 2. Davenport Assumption 171, 3. Dyersville Beckman 142, 4. West Liberty 132, 5. Wapsie Valley 95, 6. Wapello 93, 7. Muscatine 87, 8. C.R. Xavier 85, 9. Marion 71, 10. Louisa-Muscatine 59, 11. Mount Vernon 57, 12. East Buchanan 56, 13. Sigourney-Keota 51, 14. Washington, Iowa, 15. Cascade 9.5.

Championship matches

106 pounds — Derrick Bass (DA) dec. Dawson Schmit (WV), 13-7; 113 — Cade Siebrecht (Lis) pinned Alex Beaver (WL), 2:37; 120 — Brandon Paez (Lis) pinned Ethan Forker (DA), 3:39; 126 — Mason Dye (SK) pinned Gavin Hiler (Mar), 1:19; 132 — Robert Avila Jr. (Lis) pinned Mitchell Moore (Wap), 1:12; 138 — Cael Happel (Lis) pinned Michael Macias (DA), 4:28; 145 — Daniel Meeker (Wap) dec. Gage McCoy (Lis), 6-2; 152 — Will Esmoil (WL) dec. Marshall Hauck (Lis), 8-2; 160 — Ayden Frazer (Wash) pinned Peyton Angelias (Lis), 1:32; 170 — Max Kohl (Lis) pinned Tim Nimley (Mus), 2:17; 182 — Evan Wuhlfekuhle (DB) pinned John Argo (DA), 1:52; 195 — Cole Clark (Lis) pinned Ryan Cook (CRX), 2:47; 220 — Kobe Simon (WL) dec. Keean Kamerling (MV), 7-3; Hwt. — Brant Baltes (Lis) dec. Gabe Hayes (L-M), 3-0.

Comments: (319) 368-8679;

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.