Though Yosemite High School’s wrestling team has more wrestlers this year, Head Coach Kent Lincoln said the focus will continue to be on teaching a commitment to hard work, character, and dependability.
With nine wrestlers this season, Lincoln said the new talent was exciting, though many were entirely new to the sport.
“It’s all about developing the young wrestlers,” Lincoln said. “A lot of them have no experience at all, so they need a lot of guidance and technique development. It’ll be a good year.”
Senior Tyler Gails, and sophomore Diego Combs, with five and eight years of respective wrestling experience, said they’d take it upon themselves to help their new teammates.
“We’ll teach them new moves, and teach them to be committed to a new sport.” Combs said. “We want to teach them not to quit, to never give up. We have a bigger team than last year, and we’re young and strong. It’s an exciting time.”
Also on the team, with nine years of wrestling experience, is female wrestler Trinity Zelazo, who also competed in this year’s Bass Lake MY-Tri Triathlon in September.
She said though she wrestled in Mariposa last year, she was looking forward to improving as a Badger.
“I like being the only girl because it’s like I’m the little sister of the wrestling family,” Zelazo said. “I mean, I love this sport. There’s not very many girls out there who wrestle, it’s like ‘oh my god, you’re a girl wrestler.’ I like being unique.”
Because of their smaller relative size to other schools as a team, Coach Lincoln, the former Badger varsity head football coach, said the focus of his coaching would remain on individual accomplishments, as the team can’t often win meets - they were 1-4 in league last year - against larger squads with more wrestlers.
He said after his 26 years coaching the team, he’s also considering making this season his last.
“It feels like it’s time for somebody else,” Lincoln said. “I’ve been waffling on it for a few years, so it seems like it’s time to let somebody else take over.”
The team faced Mariposa in a scrimmage meet Nov. 30, then competed in the Dos Palos Invitational last weekend. On Friday and Saturday, they’ll travel to Madera South High School to participate in the Chukchansi Stampede, facing off against numerous Valley teams.