Going for Four
by Tim Fitzgerald
You'd never know that Les Sigman is going after his fourth national wrestling championship March 10-11. He is as calm and soft-spoken as ever and seems to wonder why he's getting so much attention.
Sigman could set University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) records and become the first Maverick to win four national titles (wrestler Roy Washington had three and his brother, Mel, had two). In doing so, he would join the ranks of only four other Division II wrestlers to win four national championships.
The senior heavyweight from Sturgis, South Dakota, will be competing with nine other Mavericks at the national tournament March 10-11 in Findlay, Ohio. The Maverick team will be trying for a third straight national championship.
"I try not to focus on the national championship, but rather on my performance," Sigman said. "I've had a pretty good year and hopefully will finish off with a good performance."
Throughout his Maverick career, Sigman's focus has been steady and on the mark. He came to Omaha from Brown High School in Sturgis. He wasn't heavily recruited and, according to UNO coach Mike Denney, he was "under the radar" to many schools.
Denney had been successful in Sturgis recruiting two of three Vorhees brothers to wrestle at UNO, so he was familiar with the heavyweight prospect. "You don't see heavyweights do what he can do," said Denney. "He makes it look easy, and so many old wrestling buffs know he is unique."
Denney said he felt a connection with Sigman that has continued today. "I could sense a great character in him from the very beginning," he said. "He's very humble, soft-spoken, kind of walks softly and carries a big stick. He always had a great work ethic and he's had to work for everything. I've seen an improvement each day and year that he's been here."
Denney describes Sigman as someone with moxie. "He's like a thoroughbred racehorse. They've got moxie – that something extra for the stretch run. There's an old saying that a champion does what's expected and then some – he's always had that ‘then some.'"
Sigman began wrestling in second grade and was competing at 135 pounds and then 189 pounds in high school. He didn't move up to the varsity until his junior year, but then finished second in the high school nationals.
"People started calling me when I got the number two ranking, but UNO was one of my top choices," Sigman said. "I was successful early (after coming to UNO), which helped my confidence."
Along with his wrestling victories, he's also had his share of injuries, including three knee surgeries, a dislocated shoulder, surgery for anterior compartment syndrome (lower leg) and a broken bone in his foot.
Sigman, who weighs in at 250 pounds, practices each day against assistant coach Jason Brilz, whom he's quick to credit for his winning. "Jason has had a lot to do with my success because I keep evolving each day that I practice against him. I set my goals high for my performance, and I'm always trying to improve."
"He's been a gift and I've been thankful for him every day," Denney said. "Les is a great young man and someone you'd be proud to have on your team and in your family."
For more information about wrestling at UNO, visit the Web at http://gomavs.unomaha.edu/.
Tim Fitzgerald is manager of photography at UNO. He can be reached at email@example.com.
October 2012 > A Closer Look at IS&T's NUCIA
October 2012 > UNO Engages Students, Community for 2012 Elections
December 2011 > Conference Tags
September 2011 > Roskens Hall: An Educator's Dream
July 2011 > Arts and Sciences Hall: UNO's Cornerstone
April 2011 > UNOCCC: Twenty-Five Years of Caring
March 2011 > UNO's Libraries: A History
March 2011 > The Henningson Memorial Campanile
February 2011 > Mammel Hall
February 2011 > The Sapp Fieldhouse
January 2011 > Heydays of the Hayden House
December 2010 > UNO Faculty/Staff Earn WELCOM Light of Wellness Team Award
August 2010 > Anna S. Forman Commencement Remarks
May 2010 > John Treinen Commencement Remarks
March 2010 > My Ties and Cliff Hillegass
January 2010 > Megan Schuster Commencement Remarks
December 2009 > Man Killed by Pheasant
November 2009 > New Molecular Modeling Lab Key to Chemistry Research Work
September 2009 > Technology and Term Papers – A Photo Essay
October 2008 > Zero to 65 in 80 Semesters
September 2008 > H.RES.1372: Celebrating the 100th
September 2008 > UNO Researcher Spotlighted
March 2008 > Culture on Campus
February 2008 > In Her Own Words: Technology is crucial to spurring growth
December 2007 > Pacific Street Memories
November 2007 > WISE Women
October 2007 > Vincent Empowers Teachers, Students With Technology
August 2007 > Orientation Leader Represents UNO with Exuberance
August 2007 > In His Own Words: On Summer School
July 2007 > Changing Faces
June 2007 > MVHC @ 50
February 2007 > At Your Service
December 2006 > A Job Well Done
September 2006 > Australian Finches Aid UNO Professor's Research
July 2006 > Finding His Way
May 2006 > Calming the Anxious
April 2006 > The Kid's Doing All Right
March 2006 > Shot of a Lifetime
March 2006 > Going for Four
February 2006 > Standing Tall with Sierra
January 2006 > In-Your-Face Geology
January 2006 > Religion Meets Film
January 2006 > Finding a Home Port
December 2005 > Man of the Cloth
November 2005 > Volunteer Field Work
November 2005 > Charting the Unknown
October 2005 > Developing Business Overseas
October 2005 > After The Storm
September 2005 > Building Better Officers
September 2005 > Saving the Planet
August 2005 > Making the Abstract Tangible
August 2005 > Helping Neighborhoods Help Themselves
July 2005 > Improving Health through Technology
July 2005 > Reading the Signs
June 2005 > Small Steps to a Better Life
April 2005 > Honest Art
March 2005 > Sharing The Wealth
March 2005 > Engineering His Own Masterpiece
February 2005 > Native Daughter, Native Dreams
February 2005 > Puck Stops Here
January 2005 > Stressing the Familiar
January 2005 > Connecting the Community
January 2005 > Ticket to Cooperstown
December 2004 > Spirit of the Season
December 2004 > Nicholas Stergiou: Research in Motion
fall 2004 > Alzheimer's: Caring for the Caregiver's
fall 2004 > David Hawk: All In
fall 2004 > Anadelia Lamas: Planting Roots
fall 2004 > Dean Olson: Assessing the Threat
fall 2004 > Tom Warren: From the Chiefs to the Chief