A revived spirit in ‘Badger Country’

The first few weeks of September were good ones for Yosemite High School, both academically and athletically.

In athletics, a big shout out to the Yosemite High volleyball program. YHS defeated rival Minarets on Sept. 9 in five sets. Having head coach Michelle Chenowith back at the helm could bring YHS back to the section title table. She has a very young team and they are only going to get stronger in the next couple years.

Yosemite volleyball has more section titles than any YHS sport-period. Chenowith racked up a few in an earlier coaching stint. The program is moving in the right direction and couldn’t have a better person at the helm.

The win over Minarets was a great one for Yosemite. For a fairly new school, Minarets has quickly built a strong D-IV program. The Mustangs have a section title and multiple league titles to prove it.

Things got a bit out of hand when “tempers flared in the bleachers between zealous fans of each school,” to quote Sierra Star community correspondent Pete Reardon. I love rivalries. I can’t wait for YHS vs. Minarets in basketball and next season in football in a regular season matchup. For the “zealous fans,” chill out and get therapy. Let’s have a blast but remember it’s about the players. Game stoppage for any reason due to fan interference is unacceptable.

For those of you at Badger Stadium last Friday night, I hope you had fun. It was a beautiful night to be outside after weeks of unhealthy air due to the Rough Fire, and the brand of football Coach JD Burnett is putting on the field is pretty special. 18 players almost beat a squad of more than 50. Burnett went for it on fourth down on seven occasions. YHS recovered an onside kick, a fumble in the end zone, and got two interceptions. Its exciting football and the 1,100 Yosemite fans loved it.

Only 50 people arrived to cheer on Roosevelt - but if you add Roosevelt’s 50 cheerleaders, they had a total of 100 fans in attendance.

From the new white helmets, the spirited band, the giant “Y” on the center of the field, and the fresh paint everywhere, Badger Stadium is a great atmosphere.

Even Ellen Peterson’s cross country team epitomized the passion of the YHS student body. Her team ran at the Sanger Invitational on Friday, and she said “virtually the entire team wanted to get back home ASAP to catch the game. Our bus rolled in around 8 p.m. and everyone sprinted over to the game.”

Peterson is a huge football fan, and she sees the changes in the program.

“JD and his staff have brought a great energy to the team, and you can see it in the fan base,” Peterson said. “The team didn’t just want to make it close, they expected to win. That’s the attitude now and it’s exciting to watch.

It’s doubtful that YHS opponents will take the Badgers lightly going forward. Watching game film of Roosevelt will give opposing coaches a lot more to think about.

And congratulations to Yosemite High for scoring well in the inaugural California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress tests (CAASPP) or the ‘Smarter Balanced’ testing program.

Yosemite has had the honor of being a ‘Distinguished California School’ and test results continue to verify that.