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Wrestling puts individual goals aside, strives to better as a team

by Daniel Fielding

The wrestling room is one of those hidden areas in the school. Above the south gym and nestled in the farthest cor- ner of the school, the grunts and shouts of Lincoln wrestlers hitting the mat can be heard echoing throughout the stair- well. Here is where the Lincoln wrestling team practices after school Monday to Friday, alter- nating between the mats and

the weight room. Wrestling is a high-

ly aggressive contact sport in which points are gained through escapes, near-falls, reversals, take downs, and penalties.

Senior Kevin Wong has a much simpler explana- tion, “Wrestling is basically two semi-naked men wrestling on a mat inside the circumference of a circle. You win by pinning your

opponent to the floor.”

Senior Jimmy Zhou adds, “To an ordinary spectator wrestling is kind of complicated to understand, but if you actu- ally do it as a sport, it becomes

really simple.” Senior Robert Chan

enthusiastically took the defini- tion of wrestling a step further, “As soon as you get on the mats, it’s an all-out war.”

Currently the Lincoln Wrestling team’s record is 0-3. But Zhou and Wong are not disheartened by the numbers.

“Listen, it’s a new team. We have a lot of first years. And we’re also lucky to have a new very experienced coach, Con-

rad,” says Zhou. Conrad Snell is a vet-

eran wrestler who started his career when he was six and has been a great help to the Lincoln team. He has brought an in- creased workout regimen and a more determined attitude to the

team.

What makes the Lin- coln wrestling team so unique is the apparent reality that there is no team captain. “We don’t have a single captain, but there are definitely leaders in the

group,” says Chan. One of these leaders is

Senior Jonathan Tinetti. A big, heavyset athlete,

Tinetti outlined the true goals of the Lincoln wrestling team. “Perhaps the championship isn’t in reach, but right now we’re a new team, and our main goal is to win as a team.”

Many of the individu- al wrestlers have better stand- alone records than the team. Chan is currently 6-3 and Zhou is 2-2, but Tinetti emphasized that these scores don’t really

matter in the long run. “Personal records don’t

mean anything. Individually you can never truly win.” Tinet-

ti reinforced the idea that as a senior wrestler, it becomes less about one’s winning and more about sharing your experience with the first years. After all, they are the future of the team. And speaking of the future, in a historically male-centric sport,

Junior Tanya Bihag is holding her own as one of the few female wrestlers in the

school district. “Well, being the only

girl on a team is sometimes hard because I know the boys are stronger than me, but it defi- nitely helps me get better, and it helps the guys get better as well.”

Her advice for other girls who want to do male-heavy sports? “I believe they [girls] re- ally should do the sports they want to do. It’s really empow- ering competing with boys and beating them. And really it’s not about strength; it’s about who

has the most heart.” With the season ending

very soon, the Lincoln team’s focus is on winning at least one match this season. Veteran wrestlers like Zhou, Tinetti and Chan aim to keep the team to- gether and teach and improve the new players as much as pos- sible.

“With wrestling, a lot of players decide to join and then they leave” says Tinetti. Tinetti implies if they stayed maybe the team could start to improve and

be more consistent. The last match of the

season for the Lincoln wrestling team will take place February 16 in the Lincoln South Gym against O’Connell. The All City matches are solo competitions and will start at 9 A.M. Febru- ary 21st at Lincoln as well.

Mustang Athlete shoots for the stars

by Robert Chan 

The court rumbles as senior Lilly Billedo dashes the court dribbling the ball after recovering a rebound. Her opponents relentlessly attempt to steal the ball back out of her hands, but she swiftly sprints through them. Two seconds remain on the clock with Lincoln in a 2 point deficit. Can she make it in time? She quickly arrives at a three point range. With a split second left on the clock, she shoots the ball. The ball bounces off the rim and flies straight up in the air. In the death defining moment, the falls right back into the hoop.
    Billedo has led the team to a successful season, clinching a spot in the playoffs. On Friday, February 6, she and her team defeated the previous defending champ Lowell 45-42 to tie against them an overall 5-2 record in the AAA California Interscholastic Federation Division I league.
    Billedo started her basketball career in the sixth grade playing for A.P Giannini middle school. “We made the championships in 6th grade, but I didn’t play much” she said. She became a starter for most games in both seventh and eighth grades. “My goals were to just make the playoffs,” she said.
    She also played for a private team called Christian Youth Organization.
    Upon entering high school, Billedo decided to continue her basketball career to play for Lincoln. “During tryouts, there wasn’t a lot of people so basically everyone made this team.” she said. She and the team struggled at first from the large range of different skill levels. However, even with the differences, she and the team made it to the first rounds of the playoffs.
Billedo plays forward position in basketball. She in many occasions can be seen driving up the court making offensive plays, scoring for the team.
    Billedo describes herself in practices as helping others on the team. “We all push each other to do our best,” she said, “even if you know you’re not as good as other people.”
    Billedo emphasizes heavily on being a team player. “Without teamwork you can’t play on the court,” she says. She adds that the team's “chemistry” is crucial to success. “You have 5 people on the court. It’s not a 1 man sport
    Teammate Amy Lu, senior describes Billedo as a nice but also grueling player. “[She is like] dark chocolate on the court, bitter and sweet at the same time,” she says. She adds that she is very aggressive and “looks like a beast.”
    With hopes of making the championship, Billedo continues to be a key player for the team. “[It’s about] making the playoffs, and hopefully winning the championship,” she said.

 

Boy’s basketball strives to repeat its glory days

by Robert Chan

Last year, Lincoln’s boy’s basketball team dominat- ed the San Francisco Section with an undefeated league re-

cord of 14-0. The Mustangs finished

the season with a win against Marshall 65-35 in the champion- ships and then made headlines outside the league with a victory to the California Interscholas- tic Federation California State Tournament against De La Sal- le.

Unfortunately, the team was defeated by Jesuit High School in the 2nd round of

the Masters Tournament. Despite the loss, Lincoln clearly stood as the best team in San Francisco. But can this year’s team surpass last year’s?

This year, the team has failed to maintain an undefeat- ed record. With the last dated record 6-2, it remains clear that the team is not as strong as last year’s. Many key players have graduated, leaving behind a whole different team. Senior Ifeanyi Ebochie

is rather confident that the team can build to be as good as last years. “We have good chemis- try, but we want to build [it] up now,” he says.

Ebochie says that the team has more juniors this year versus last year. He is however confident that the team can adapt to their differences to be in a position to make the play- offs.

“We practice to aim for first,” he says, adding that the team has many good players who have the same goal in mind. Senior Michael Baun is also confident that the team can make it to the playoffs. He describes the team as tough and relentless. “We always bounce back and give teams a hard time.”

Baun is positive in the team’s ability to perform well together. He says that the team can perform well with each other under many different scenarios.

Buan also describes the team’s need for improvement. “We need more focus. I think our effort [is] great, but we got to use our heads more. Being smart and making the right decisions and being in position to make a

play [is] lacking at times.” Baun describes the

team as “always improving” and “explosive.”

Despite his belief that the team is as good as last years, he believes that with improve- ments, the team can get there “No, [we are not as good as last year’s], but I believe through time and practice we could get

there,” he says. He believes that the

team is going to be good but agrees that the team needs to

keep working harder to get bet- ter.

Baun describes one reason the team may not be as strong as last years. He says “The team this year isn’t as big as last year. We are shorter in

height.”

Junior Christian Gong also agrees that season is going well, but could use some improve- ments. “We need to start playing as a team a little more, and we need to play strong throughout

the whole game. He explains that the

team sometimes lacks consis- tency throughout games. “We start to play individually, not together,” he adds.

The team has faced se- vere losses that make it unclear if the team can make it past the playoffs. Lincoln lost to Wash- ington 78 to 53 and to the previ- ous 2013 section champion Mis-

sion 77 to 63. Unless the team can be

prepared to defeat these opponents, Lincoln may be unable to defend its title.