By Gregg Dodderidge
OAKHURST — Two Yosemite High School wrestlers, 115 lb. junior Peter (PJ) Kuzmitski and 154 lb. junior Nicolas Guynn, both battled to first place finishes in the CIF Central Section Division 5 Championship Tournament at Golden West High in Visalia on Feb. 14-15. Guynn also was voted Upper Weight Outstanding Wrestler by the Division’s head coaches.
The Badgers placed 7th overall in D-5.
Twenty two teams competed in Division 5. The tournament was comprised of a total of 155 wrestlers within fourteen 16-man brackets.
All six Badgers earned team points and advanced to Day 2. Joining Kuzmitski and Guynn were 134 lb. sophomore Clint Willoughby (3-2), 140 lb. sophomore Trevon Nguyen (2-2), 147 lb. junior Logan Mount (2-2) and 222 lb. junior Ben Wynn (2-2.)
Overall, this is a great moment in the long history of Badger wrestling. The Central Section is considered the top wrestling section in the state of California. YHS placed a respectable 7th place with just six wrestlers.
The team’s overall success is an absolute credit to long-time head coach Kent Lincoln and his staff.
The Central Section Wrestling divisions were recently re-organized to allow greater team participation. Participation based on past school team records. Having a full team is an advantage. San Luis Obispo, with just one champion, took the D-5 title because they had a full, fourteen-member team.
YHS had two winners. If the Badgers had a full team contingent, the D-5 trophy could well be in Oakhurst.
The training and commitment involved in high school wrestling is intense. To be the best, especially in the uber-competitive Central Section, an athlete trains virtually year round.
“Wrestling requires complete commitment, not only from the athletes, but from their families, as well,” assistant coach Jeff Guynn said. “The athletes are responsible for their own strength and conditioning plus nutrition and weight management outside of practice.”
For the Guynn family, the grueling workouts and the family commitment is totally worth it.
“Wrestling improves athleticism in all sports,” Guynn said. “The weekend tournament schedule is grinding but the rewards are worth the sacrifices. Wrestling develops confidence, discipline, integrity, and respect. Wrestling success leads to achievements in academics and careers.”
Coach Guynn saw the sports connectivity first hand. In football, Nicholas Guynn was one of the top defenders on the outstanding Yosemite High defense last season. Despite being outsized as a defensive end, Guynn would utilize wresting techniques to fight off blocks, pursue, and make tackles. With wrestling comes endurance. Guynn never took a play off in football.
Kuzmitski and Guynn qualified for Grand Masters at Hoover High in Fresno on February 21-22. Willoughby, who placed fourth at D-5, will go as an alternate.
The top 10 out of 32 in each weight class will continue to the State Tournament in Bakersfield scheduled for February 27- 28.