Yosemite High School wrestling coach Kent Lincoln enters his 21st year as the coach of a team that placed third in the North Sequoia League last year.
Although the team lost five varsity wrestlers to graduation, including the coach's son Kyle, who ended the season with a 35-3 record (27 wins by pins) and a top 12 finish at the state met, the coach predicts his team will be compete well in the North Sequoia League.
Washington Union, who lost only two seniors from last year's league champiosnship team and is ranked 27th in the state in pre-season by Max Preps, is expected to win the league this year. The Panthers have won the league title the past two years.
Anchoring the Yosemite team are three experienced seniors -- PJ Reyna, Mike Waybright and Cameron Simonson.
Senior PJ Reyna (138 pounds): A four year varsity wrestler who finished the season with a 29-7 record last year and the league 126-pound title. He advanced to the Central Section Masters Tournament and just missed advancing to the state tournament. He is expected to be the top NSL wrestler in his weight division. He placed third at the Ceres Invitational last week. Yosemite placed eighth out of 22 teams at the tournament.
Senior Mike Waybright (120 pounds): Another Badger wrestler who's goal is to win the league tournament this year. He placed second in the NSL tournament last year. He placed fourth at the Ceres Invitational.
Senior Cameron Simonson (182 pounds): Simonson is a transfer from Las Vegas who won three matches to place first in his division at the Ceres Invitational.
Sophomore Bravehart Sauceda place fourth in the 195-pound division at Ceres.
Lincoln said the Soliz brothers, junior Issac (128 pounds) and sophomore Elijah (132 pounds) are working hard in practice and are showing a lot of potential.
"We have a lot of young wrestlers out for the team this year," Lincoln said. "Although some of these young wrestlers will be on the JV team this season, they are proving they will be competitive varsity wrestlers in future years."
A good example is freshman Matthew Horton who placed 8th (113 pounds) at the varsity Ceres Invitational last weekend.
This week the JV and varsity teams will be in tournaments. The JV team will participate in the Warrior Invitational at Fresno High Friday and the varsity team will be at the Chuckchansi Invitational at Madera South High School Friday and Saturday.
Select members of the team will participate in the Zinkin Classic Tournament Dec. 21 and 22.
The first North Sequoia League match will be on Jan. 3 at Washington Union in Easton. Kerman will visit Yosemite on Jan. 10 and the Badgers will host Liberty High on Jan. 17. Sierra will travel to Yosemite on Jan. 31.
All league matches are at 6 p.m.
The end-of-season North Sequoia League match will be at 11 a.m. on Feb. 9 at Liberty High.
Assistant coaches this season are former Badger wrestler Dan Larsen, Anthony Waybright and Brad Zinich.
Yosemite Area Youth Wrestling
Lincoln also oversees Yosemite Area Youth Wrestling that currently has about 35 K through third graders and another 35 fourth through eighth graders participating in the program.
Assisting Lincoln and assistant YHS coach Dan Larsen with the youth program are three YHS wrestlers -- Reyna, Waybright and Simonson. The YHS wrestlers will put in more than 80 hours instructing youth wrestlers as part of the their senior project.
The K through third grade group practice at 5:30 to 7 p.m. every Wednesday at YHS.
The fourth through eighth graders practice 5:30 to 7 p.m. every Monday and Tuesday at YHS.
Parents interested in getting their child involved with the youth wrestling program should contact Lincoln at YHS for details, (559) 683-4667.