Small College Sports

Upper Iowa's Michael Siech makes an impact at linebacker ... and punter

Former Denver prep enjoys playing college football close to family

Upper Iowa senior linebacker Mitchel Siech is making his 35th career start Thursday when the Peacocks travel to Winona State. (Upper Iowa Athletics)
Upper Iowa senior linebacker Mitchel Siech is making his 35th career start Thursday when the Peacocks travel to Winona State. (Upper Iowa Athletics)
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Upper Iowa football travels to the picturesque bluffs of the Mississippi River Thursday night looking for their its win as it faces Winona State in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference matchup scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at Altra Federal Credit Union Stadium in Winona, Minn.

Starring for the Peacocks (0-2) defense is someone that has made quite a name for himself during his career at Upper Iowa, senior linebacker Mitchel Siech.

Siech was a Cyclone during his prep days at Denver High School, just north of Waterloo, where he garnered interest from teams all around the NSIC, especially Winona State (1-1).

“I was recruited very heavily by Winona and had offers from Drake and some other FCS schools to walk on,” said Siech, “but I wanted to stay close to family because that’s a big thing for me.”

After making 34 starts in three-plus years at Upper Iowa, Siech has recorded 207 total tackles for the Peacocks with 134 of those solo, 27 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and five interceptions.

Those numbers on the defensive side of the ball, matched with his six punts averaging 50.0 yards per this past weekend during a 28-23 home loss to Concordia-St. Paul, have made Peacock fans wonder if Siech should have instead been playing in the state’s biggest matchup in Ames last weekend.

“He’s incredible,” said Upper Iowa’s Vice President for Athletics, Rick Hartzell. “He could be playing for either one of those schools.”

One of the reasons that Siech didn’t see as many full-scholarship offers out of high school to the FCS schools was his size.

“I think I weighed 180 pounds coming out of high school, and as a linebacker that’s pretty small for FCS,” said Siech. “I think a big thing for me was having my college taken care of and my education paid for and I was able to do that by coming to Upper Iowa.”

Siech’s little brother Caleb also will have an opportunity to save his parents, Kevin and Jennifer, some tuition money when the Waverly-Shell Rock offensive lineman attends Miami (Ohio) next year on scholarship.

Regardless of which brother is playing, the Siechs find a way to support their sons.

“I have a great support system up here,” said Mitchel. “My family comes to every single one of my games and I spend some time with them after each one, talking about the game and how things have been. I haven’t been able to go home for many Fridays to see Caleb play because we are usually traveling or preparing for Saturday.”

Siech prepares for Saturdays, or in this case Thursday, the same each week.

“I’ve worked to develop my game both physically and mentally. I watch a lot of film so I’m in the right position when I need to be and then just getting my body right through our strength program. I’ve gained 30 pounds since I arrived here and I think that’s really contributed to my success.”

With just nine games remaining in his career, Siech is focused on his new band of brothers.

“The relationships with the guys are important, because there isn’t a ton to do here,” Siech said. “I’m pretty close with five or six guys that I’ll probably stay in contact with for the rest of my life. I think that’s really been the highlight. It’s been fun up here, and I’m just trying to leave Upper Iowa better than I found it.”

Comments: justin.webster@thegazette.com

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