When it comes to picking a do-it-all athlete, Slade Sifuentes is option A, B, C and D.
The Lake Mills graduate could’ve probably stood to be a dominate wrestler and that would’ve been enough, but that’s not how Sifuentes is wired. It’s why he has been named the Globe Gazette’s Male Athlete of the Year.
“I really like that he was active, being in all four sports,” Lake Mills wrestling coach Alex Brandenburg said. “It made him really well-rounded, and it just shows the kind of kid he is.”
Sifuentes closed out his senior year as one of the best athletes to come out of Lake Mills, which has had its fair share over the years.
But it was wrestling where Sifuentes really stood out, and his legend was built during a sophomore season when he lost in districts.
“That’s when everything just changed,” Brandenburg said. “During his junior and senior year, he turned into the hardest-working kid in the room. That wasn’t necessarily the case his first two years, but that loss changed everything.”
After that point, there was nobody who matched Sifuentes on the wrestling mat.
Over his final two seasons, Sifuentes rattled off 113 straight wins and rolled to two state titles. Maybe more important to him was the team success, though, as Lake Mills made it to back-to-back state duals.
“He’s the best leader I’ve ever had,” Brandenburg said. “The big thing about him was it was just as important to have team success more than him as an individual, which isn’t always the case for kid that good.
“He was definitely the table-setter and would get kids ready to go. It was really important to him that those kids placed at state, and that got the kids fired up.”
His work in the wrestling room translated to his three other sports as well.
His size on the outside helped him become an all-state wide receiver in football after hauling in 38 receptions for 615 yards and seven touchdowns.
In the spring, he helped the Bulldogs to a Class 1A state title in the shuttle hurdle relay, and he closed out his prep sports career as the Bulldogs’ ace on the mound on the way to a first-team all-conference honor.
Taking all that in, it’s no surprise that his plans at the next level now involve doing multiple things at Wartburg College in Waverly. He had originally signed to wrestle for the Knights, but this past week he decided to join the football team as well.
“That speaks a lot to him that he’s down there and is going to do both,” Brandenburg said, “But that’s just the way he is.”