Yosemite High School wrestling team opened up the season with a scrimmage match against Mariposa which should help prepare the Badgers for what lies ahead.
Coach Kent Lincoln and Dan Larsen are optimistic about the upcoming season and are looking to a few returning seniors to lead the team onto the mat and into victory.
Lincoln, who has been a part of Badgers wrestling for more than 20 years including his days at YHS as a student is encouraged by what he has seen and hopes to produce a few league contenders as well as develop some skills with the new and upcoming wrestlers.
Lincoln's continued goal throughout his coaching experience has been to keep the program "going and growing."
"It's going to be a challenging year but the kids are up for it and so am I," Lincoln said
The team will be led by returning senior Isaac Soliz who has spent the last two years preparing and growing as a wrestler to put himself in position to win the North Sequoia League. Soliz hopes to wrestle 132 but get his weight down to wrestle at 128 before the end of the year
Soliz says he is energized for the upcoming season and said his previous sport, cross country has prepared him with good stamina and endurance. "I like the competition.....my goal at the end of the year is to be at 126," Soliz said.
Soliz is coming off an injury which cost him most of last year and Salcedo says his goals are to stay healthy and get an invite to the Valley tournament.
"I like the challenge and before I started wrestling I knew I wanted a challenge. As a sophomore I was so close to Valley and my junior year I got hurt," Soliz said.
The Badgers had a tough season last year posting a record of 12-13 but hope to bounce back this year with some returning seniors and more experienced wrestlers.
We will have our work cut out for them as the team will start the season with only 15 wrestlers and short wrestlers in three of the 14 weight classes, including 106 pounds.
Coach Larsen is spending a lot of time working with individuals to prepare them for what is a very mentally and physically demanding sport.
"We feel good about the upcoming year...we have a lot of kids who are growing up in the sport and they are learning a lot," Larson said. There's a lot of room for growth and that's always exciting as a coach.
The Badgers will test their metal in their first league match of the season at 6 p.m. Jan. 9, at home against Washington Union Panthers.