Lincoln wrestlers move on to division

Eye on the section masters
By: Jim Linsdau/News Messenger Sports Editor
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The Lincoln High School wrestling team may not be moving to the next level but several Fighting Zebras are going forward as individuals. Seven will represent the blue-and-gold at the CIF Division IV Championships to be held this weekend in Benicia. There are three alternates who could make it into the meet as well. Among those moving forward are Gabrielle Eslinger, who qualified at the Pioneer Valley League Championships in the 106-pound class. Although Eslinger could do well at the Division IV Championships, she will switch over to the CIF Girls State Championships after this weekend. “The interest has been more and more separating the girls wrestling from boys wrestling and we’re sort of going along with that,” said Lincoln head coach Mike Maul. “I was at the girls’ tournament last week and there was a lot of excitement at that. The girls take it very seriously.” Eslinger would have been eligible to advance in the boys competition had she chosen to do so. However, she would not have been able to do both. Wrestlers Sam Brasher (106 pounds), Eslinger (106), Landon Croisant (132), Jake Palmyra (138), Ero Wainio (152), Marcus Gillett (160), and J.D. Edwards (182) all qualified for divisions. However, Brasher and Palmyra have withdrawn because of an injury and a reason unrelated to wrestling. Three alternates, Juan Ramirez (120), Mike Gomez (132), and Tye Karsikas (135), will have to wait until the end of the week to know if there is an opening in their respective weight classes. “This has been kind of a weird season, to be real honest,” said Maul, indicating he hasn’t had his best team on the mat since the Granite Bay duals in December. “We’ve had injuries before, and that’s a part of sports, but this year has been particularly bad.” In spite of that, Maul is pleased with the progress of many of his individual wrestlers. He said junior Ero Wainio has had a very good year. Maul will only lose Gillett and Ramirez, who he praised for the jobs they did this season. This was the first year either wrestled varsity. Last year, he graduated up to nine wrestlers leaving him with a team with limited varsity experience. Still, the Zebras had a solid season and nearly qualified for sections as a team. “We’ve had a lot of young guys on the varsity lineup,” said Maul. Of the 10 who either qualified at the PVL Championships, or made alternate, three are freshman, two are sophomores, and three are juniors. After this weekend, those who qualify at Division IV will advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters to be held at the Stockton Arena, Feb. 24-25. The CIF Girls State Championships are also that weekend at Lemoore High School.