Kudos to Yosemite High senior wrestler Kyle Lincoln. Lincoln finished another fantastic season on the mat reaching the state meet quarter finals for the second straight year. Kyle will finish his senior season as the greatest wrestler in Yosemite history. He finished his carer with a 178-45 record.
How cool would it be for Kyle to try to continue his wrestling career at Fresno State? Well that can't happen as the Bulldogs do not have a wrestling program. It is a shame really. The Central Section is the most dominant wrestling section in California, bar none. Fresno State would not have to recruit much outside the Central Valley to field an NCAA powerhouse. Instead local wrestlers have to move to pursue their NCAA dreams.
Marek Warszawski of the Fresno Bee notes this in his March 4 "WarZone," "it is beyond ridiculous that stud local wrestlers...can't pursue their athletic dreams at Fresno State." The column goes on to state instead of a wrestling program the "university rolls out the welcome mat to foreign tennis players and out-of-state lacrosse players."
Bulldog Foundation boosters, like me, need to keep the pressure on the university to return NCAA D-I wrestling to the Valley once again.
Regardless where Kyle ends up going to college, he will improve any program. We wish him the best in the future.
YHS basketball year-end wrap up
Varsity Badgers boys hoops can call it a true turn-around season. The overall record was 13-14 but the record didn't tell the whole story. Six losses were to teams with 20+ win seasons. The North Sequoia League was also tough. Sierra made it all the way to the D-IV finals and the So Cal state playoffs. Congratulations to the Chieftains. Chowchilla and Washington Union were also playoff teams.
The coaching staff was new and did an outstanding job. Head coach Aaron Eames instilled defensive toughness and asistant coach Steve Lopez introduced a new offense and the players gave it their all.
They were a close group and played hard for their coaches. To a player, they all had fun. To me this is the best measure of success. Unfortunately, not all players were hitting on all cylinders every night. The exception was the 80-66 victory at home against Sierra.
The coaches chose to not give any awards at the basketball banquet. The reasoning: They felt that no one player really stood out as the averages of all their stats were close.
With huge respect to the coaches, I politely disagree. I'm a bit old school. I am used to "awards banquets." I loved getting awards and still do, especially at my job. Blame my fragile ego. Awards are earned and hopefully by most, cherished. It is kind of what a season ending banquet is all about. I am confident most parents who attended the banquet would agree.
In my view, there were two standouts deserving of an award and recognition. One, was point-guard Cory Skerce. Skerce led the team in scoring (11.5 pg), assists (3.6 pg) and blocks (8). Skerce led or tied the team in scoring eight times with a single-game high of 27. He was second in steals (42) and three-pointers made (46). More importantly, Skerce was the floor leader and made crucial free-throws in tough situations. Other league coaches it seems, felt the same, as he was selected first team all NSL offense and defense. Skerce was the only Badger selected as NSL first-team on offense and defense.
In my view, this clearly separates him. This performance is deserving of an MVP award.
Justin McMillen also had a great senior season. McMillen led the team in three-pointers made (49) shooting a team high 31% from beyond the arc and led the Badgers in steals (56). His points per game average was less than a point behind Skerce with a game high of 26. He led the team in scoring seven times, was second in assists (57) and third in rebounds (119). He was selected as second team all NSL offense.
For Skerce and McMillen to be selected all-league is a great honor, bestowed upon by the league coaches.