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Spring sports no longer getting a new team"

By Jessica Wong  

Lincoln’s cheer team was in a completely different situation in terms of success at this time last year. Considering that half of the of the eighteen girls on the team are freshman and only two are returners, it’s practically a new team.
    “For all of us who were here last year, we saw that there was basically no cheer leading team. I think it’s a pretty good step up,” says senior cheerleader Taylor Nakayama.
    Our team has, not once, but twice this season qualified for nationals, by ranking high in two different competitions. Nationals is a cheer competition that includes teams from all over the West Coast. At the end of March, the team of eighteen will head down to Anaheim to compete with hundreds of other teams. This is an amazing accomplishment for this team considering it was “basically raised from the ground up this year,” according Nakayama.
    Thanks to Susan Kenney, cheer coach, the team has added four new coaches this year. They had been acquaintances of Kenney’s for a while, and she encouraged them to help out at Lincoln. The coaches include Adela Lee, Bertha Lee, Briana Bailey, and Carol Lee.

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     This is Adela’s ninth year coaching cheer. She previously coached at Washington High School and Balboa High School. Bertha Lee has been coaching for ten years, and was a cheerleader herself for four years at University of San Francisco. With Adela, she coached cheer at Washington and Balboa before coming to coach at Lincoln. She is currently in her sixth season cheering for an all-star team in South San Francisco.
    Bailey has cheered her whole life until college and reached out to Kenney when she started missing cheerleading. She helped out with the cheer squad before but not so actively until this year. Carol Lee has been cheering for ten years, and was an assistant coach at Washington High School for a few years.
    Baily explains, “Our ‘game’ is our competitions. What we do for the school is for the school and for the other players and giving them support, which is what we do, but our venue is our competitions and competing for ourselves and proving us as a team.”
    Senior cheerleader Christina Ivy-Horace has cheered for two and a half years now, so she knows what it’s like to be on both ends of the success spectrum. She notices big differences in the team this year. “The cheerleaders are actually dedicated this year, which is good cause we don’t have that whole, people dropping off cause of grades, people don’t have time or anything like that. Everybody here is dedicated... So we don’t have to be like, ‘Oh, she’s not here, so we can’t do this.’”
    The girls have competed in three competitions so far. In a competition with the United Spirit Association, they placed fourth out of sixteen. At the annual AAA competition, where all San Francisco high school cheer squads come together to compete, Lincoln placed first in the cheer division, second in the stunt division, and third in the dance division. In their most recent competition on January 14, they placed second out of seventeen teams.
    “It’s our first year competing,” says Carol Lee, “so this is huge for us and huge for them, because it’s something completely new and something fun for them to do other than just going to games and cheering on the sidelines, but they love being at the school events,” says Carol Lee.
    Before this year, the team would figure out stunts and lifts on their own. “Our stunts are way better this year. We’re able to stunt because our coaches are actually able to show us what to do,” says Ivy-Horace, adding, “It’s more organized too.”

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    Nakayama, a former competitive gymnast is the only tumbler on the team. Since she has a long history in gymnastics, she has a lot of coordination to contribute to the team. Despite her coaches not allowing her to teach gymnastic moves to her teammates, she explains, “I went ahead and started having secret meetings for coaching because I’m not gonna be here next year, so I’d like to leave behind a good generation of tumblers.”
    Adela Lee explains that they’re “trying to bring the traditional cheer leading back... It’s not what people think anymore. And it’s definitely not just wearing a cute outfit, jumping, screaming down the sidelines anymore. It’s definitely a lot more work, a lot of dedication, a lot of time that the girls put in, and obviously we’ve been very successful this year.”
    The cheerleaders and coaches give off a great sense of togetherness in their team. Adela Lee says, “We love the support we have here from the administration, the students. It’s been good.”
    Carol Lee says, “I can enthusiastically say that I’ve enjoyed my experience at Lincoln High School overall, with the staff support and also with the kids, because I’ve never had a group of girls who have been so dedicated... And it keeps me motivated too.”
Nakayama explains that the girls become close because of the sport itself, saying, “You definitely learn to trust your teammates.”
    As seniors, Ivy-Horace and Nakayama are hopeful for the future teams and have clearly enjoyed their time as cheerleaders. Ivy-Horace says, “Everybody has a different personality, and when I graduate, each of those personalities are gonna be missed.”
    Nakayama adds, “I hope in the years to come that the cheer leading will be a source of pride for our school, k ind of like on equal par with all the other sports teams... I hope people will be excited to join and watch the cheer leading team too.”
 

Mustang Athlete Spotlight: Mitchell Lee

By William Tien

    Junior Mitchell Lee, a starting guard on the boys varsity basketball team, has been playing basketball for nearly ten years. Lee has been on Lincoln’s basketball teams since his freshmen year, and as a sophomore, Lee managed to land a spot on varsity and has been on it ever since.
    Lee started playing basketball in second grade, joining a basketball team outside of school called the Taisho Basketball Team. In middle school, Lee played on the Presidio basketball team from sixth to eighth grade.
    Balancing academics and sports comes easy to Lee as he received a 4.17 GPA his first semester. Despite the many practices, games, and extracurricular activities, it seems as if  he is in total control of his life.
    On the court, Lee usually plays as the defensive guard. Lee practices basketball everyday of the week. On schooldays he goes home and rests for a few hours, then heads to his backyard to shoot hoops. On weekends he goes to the park and practices. Lee tries to stay in shape and keeps his edge as he practices year long even when basketball seasons don’t start. He loves basketball and plays any chance he gets.

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    Lincoln Head basketball coach Matt Jackson identifies Lee as, “the best defender on the team, but has often run into foul trouble this season because of his aggressive play. He’s an Energizer Bunny and sometimes that’s a disadvantage. He likes to go for steals a lot, and is bumping and reaching in, but he’s quick enough to do it. He will guard anyone and he thinks out there, and that makes life miserable for a lot of opposing scorers.”
    Joshua Lau, a fellow teammate and friend of Lee’s said, “I have been playing basketball with Mitchell for years now, and he has always been the more eager and interested.”   
    Lee currently still plays basketball on Taisho Basketball Team along with being on Lincoln’s Varsity team. He wishes to play as much basketball as he can so that  one day accomplish his dream to play the sport professionally.
    “It is probably very unlikely to make it big in basketball since I am an Asian-American, but hopefully one day I can fulfill my dream and do what I love profesionally in the NBA,” Lee expressed.
    

"Swimming to the top"

By William Tien

   Swimming season started mid to late January this year, and expectations are increasingly high for Lincoln’s Varsity swim team. With talks of three freshmen prospects joining varsity this year, along with the returning swimmers from previous years, Lincoln is definitely a team to fear this year.
    Tough practices on weekdays help build both  mentality and skill. With meets beginning late February, practices are crucial so that Lincoln can finally rise out of their slump and defeat Lowell, as Lincoln has, in recent years, come up short in team points against Lowell.
    “I am really nervous but excited for the first meet. We have a lot of good swimmers,” said junior Arsen German

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    This year Lincoln’s swimming team is run by only one head coach, opposed to two from last year. There are high hopes and high standards for this year as the team consists of many potential star swimmers and experienced swimmers as well. Head coach Brian Cheung  humbly speaks of his team as said in an interview.
    “I’m very excited for this team,” Cheung said. “All I hope for is that the kids try their best in practices and in the meets, but it’s really all about building a good experience and achieving something worth a good memory that will last a long time.”
    Lowell’s varsity swim team has been top dog in swimming for the past few years and this year Lincoln may very well take that place. 

Spring sports no longer getting a new team"

By Jessica Wong

    On January 24,2012, tryouts were held for girls varsity softball as well as frosh/soph softball. This is the first year that the San Francisco School District has considered having a frosh/soph softball league.
There is no real reason why there has never been one before. According to Kevin Grayson, Lincoln’s varsity softball coach, “It just never happened.”
    The issue was raised when Donald Collins, commissioner of sports in San Francisco “wondered why there was frosh/soph baseball and no frosh/soph softball,” says Grayson. Since there was extra money, Collins decided to put it into a new league.
    Although Lincoln tried to have a frosh/soph softball team, not enough girls tried out. Other schools already realized they wouldn’t have enough players before the season started. “Unfortunately not all of the schools in the city have enough participation... Some of them barely have enough for varsity,” says Grayson. “Coaches got together [to discuss the new league]. Lowell, Wash, Lincoln, Gal, Balboa... Gal[lileo] and Balboa, in the end, didn’t have enough people.”

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    Having a frosh/soph team would make a tremendous difference in our school’s varsity team. “[It would] help us so much, because there are a lot of girls who come from middle school who want to play softball... And then there’s girls in high school who are so good, so much better than them, that they’re afraid to play,” explains Grayson.
    Sophmore Melissa Lee says, “I played softball one year at my middle school, but I played in the outfield so it felt really different to play in high school and as an infielder,” reinforcing the difference between high school and middle school softball.
    Since freshman and sophomore girls would have played on the frosh/soph team before playing on varsity, they would have already known the basics when they reach varsity. They wouldn’t have to be self-conscious about playing with girls who have more experience, because they’ll have had some themselves too.
    Grayson says, “The rules in middle school softball are different from the rules in high school softball, so this is kind of intermediary thing, to help them step up to varsity softball.” Whether having played softball in middle school or not, high school softball is almost a different game than middle school softball, and not all freshman are ready to participate in it.
    If there were a frosh/soph softball team, they would have learned from the varsity team. “They [would have] work[ed] with the varsity on fundamentals.. Doing the exact same drills, and then when they ha[d] to work on team things... They’ed be off on their own,” says Grayson.

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    The status of the league is undetermined at the moment, but Washington and Lowell are the only schools who possibly have enough girls for a second team. Not having a frosh/soph softball team can be looked at as a positive. Lee says, “It would have been really different if I played in a frosh/soph team, because I wouldn’t have help from the more experienced players... Without their tips and encouragement, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to play.”