The Feb. 5 wrestling match between Yosemite and Sierra didn’t take long as only three Badger wrestlers faced-off with three Chieftains. With Yosemite winning two of the three matches, and after forfeits by both teams were calculated, Yosemite won the North Sequoia League contest 24-12.
Yosemite wins came from senior Quinn Hillard in the 138-pound class, and freshman Pete Martinez in the 182-pound division.
Hillard pined his opponent, freshman Braxton Stark with 38 seconds left in the first period.
Martinez also pinned his opponent, Sierra senior Tyler Harrison, in the first period, for his fourth league win (4-1).
Sierra’s freshman Shane Maldona pinned Yosemite’s Jesse De La Cruz in the third period. It was De La Cruz’s first league loss for the season (4-1).
Wrestling fans missed out on seeing Sierra’s heavyweight (270 pounds) Casey Jones because Yosemite did not have a wrestler in the heavyweight class. Jones is currently No. 6 in the state and has a 56-8 record for the past two seasons. Jones will undoubtedly participate in the state meet later this season in Bakersfield. Sierra has sent three wrestlers to the state meet over the past four years. Lat season, Jones and Christian Cunningham finished in the top 24 at the state meet.
Sierra’s wrestling program has been self-funded for eight years after being cut from the school budget.
Volunteer off-campus Coach Russ Smithson had been Sierra’s coach for eight seasons, and with community support, seems to come up with the needed $5,000 a year to keep the program afloat.
“We plan each season with faith, and just believe it will work out,” Smithson said after the match. “It’s worked for eight years.”
The NSL match will be held Feb. 12 at Washington Union High School in Easton.
Before and after the Yosemite-Sierra match, young wrestlers (Kindergarten - eighth grade) from the Yosemite Badger Youth Wrestling program wrestled opponents from the Foothill Youth Wrestling team.