Lincoln athletes kick it into high gear

Dead period ends
By: Jim Linsdau of The News Messenger
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The dead period for fall sports came to an end Monday for the high school athletes and coaches of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section in preparing for the upcoming season.

With soccer being moved to the winter season, the Fighting Zebras’ boys have just cross-country and football in which to compete. The girls will compete in cross-country, volleyball and golf.

Although coach-athlete contact is permitted during the conditioning summer months, that ends during the dead period, which began July 18. Now the curtain has lifted and the fall teams are working in earnest to get ready for 2016.

Football has to deal with some additional limitations as far as practicing in pads. The California Interscholastic Federation has ruled that football teams may only practice in pads two days a week and then for only 90 minutes per practice.

Lincoln High football head coach Chris Bean said the ruling will delay his ability to assess how the Fighting Zebras will perform once competition starts. With just three weeks to prepare for Lincoln’s opening game against Ponderosa Aug. 26, the team will have just nine hours of full-contact practice.

However, Bean said he hopes the anxiety many players feel before donning the pads will translate into more enthusiasm by the time game day arrives.

The first Pioneer Valley League game is scheduled for Aug. 26 hosting Ponderosa; JV game begins 5:30 p.m. and the varsity follows at 7:30.

The freshmen play Aug. 25 on the Lincoln campus at 6 p.m.

In other sports, the cross-country team will open its season Aug. 27 at the Oakmont Invitational. The first PVL meet will be Sept. 14 in Colfax.

Although some solid runners were lost through graduation, coaches Janae Krugle and Joseph Uptain Villa could field one of Lincoln’s finest teams in 2016.

Lincoln Sports information director Aaron Jackson plans to submit a full report on the cross-country team in the next edition of The Lincoln News Messenger.

Although yet to be confirmed, All-PVL golfers Kelsey Blaylock and Bryna Hamasaki could return for their senior seasons with the Zebras. They will head up a field that lost only one senior from last year’s team that finished just behind Bear River and Placer.

The Zebras’ girls volleyball team will open its 2016 campaign hosting Yuba City Aug. 29 and Marysville Aug. 30. Head coach Betty Zamora will look to improve on last year’s record after losing just three seniors from the 2015 roster.

League play begins Sept. 27 at Foothill and on Sept. 29 Placer comes calling.