Gissendanner Signs Letter of Intent to Iowa State
Gates-Chili News, by Mike Murphy
Dressed in Iowa State basebaIl cap and sweatshirt, Sirrell Gissendanner signed a letter of intent on April 20 to wrestle at the Big 8 wrestling power this fall.
"I promise my parents and Bobby Douglas (Iowa State Wrestling Coach), that I will be national champion," he said at a press conference, "I think I can do it."
Lofty goals for the 167¬pound New York State champion, but if anyone can do it, Gissendanner can, according to his former coach.
"Sirrell is the type of athlete who comes along once in a lifetime," 'Spencerport Coach Bill Jacoutot said. "The physical capabilities are there. If he keeps up the intensity, he could be a national champion. Mr. Douglas knows what he's talking about."
Gissendanner's prediction is just part of a master plan he has developed. Jacoutot hands
out a goal sheet to each wrestler at the beginning of every season. On it, wrestlers have room for six goals they want to accomplish during the season.
Gissendanner uses his goal sheet for academics as well as athletics.
"It works," Gissendanner said. "When you mark it off, it feels nice. It means you're one more step toward your goals."
Two goals were
accomplished this season. He won a state championship, and he was part of an undefeated team.
In fact, the senior tri¬captain capped this year with a 41-0 record, and was named Most Outstanding Wrestler in the New York State Wrestling Tournament. He led the Spencerport squad to a number one ranking in the state, and a 19th ranking in the USA Today national poll.
Another goal is to obtain a master's degree in business. He will be majoring in business administration at Iowa State.
'That's the big thing," he
said. He wiIl red-shirt his freshman year to "get academically sound. "
That pleases his parents, Gregory and Joyce.
"I was impressed with Bobby Douglas'," she said. "He talked more about academics than he talked about wrestling."
Despite emphasizing studies, Gissendanner won't have a year off from the sports grueling training. He will be power-lifting this summer, and then moves to the Iowa State campus in August for student orientation and to meet his teammates.
"I want to fit in on this team," he said. "Training starts immediately, and I want to get a lot of wrestling in."
He won a national powerlifting title last year with a bench press of 300 pounds, a squat of 550 pounds and a deadlift of 600 pounds, but eased off on the weights this year to concentrate on wrestling.
"I only lift during the
off-season," he said.
Gissendanner's signing ends an intensive recruiting effort that took its toll on the family. The 18 year-old also considered Penn State, Pittsburgh, Michigan and Wisconsin, but the pressure to make a decision started the minute his season ended in March.
Gissendanner visited the school on a recruiting trip recently, and he was hooked.
"All the wrestlers called me by my first name," he said.
Wrestling is the closest a sport can come to religion in Iowa, and he is looking forward to wrestling before 10,000 Cyclone fans.
In the end, though, it was Douglas, the 1992 United States Olympic Wrestling team Coach, and the advice he could give, that swayed him.
That leads to another goal.
"I would like to win an Olympic championship," he said.
When his wrestling days are over, Gissendanner hopes to operate his own business. In fact, he is hoping to move to Atlanta, Georgia after his schooling is finished and open a gym.
"I dedicate it all to my mom, dad and little brother," he said.