New coaches take over Bear River High School boys’ basketball and cheerleading programs
At Bear River High School, two coaches will be taking on new positions in the lead roles of their respective programs — Jason Camacho is the new head coach for boys’ basketball, and Wendi Press will be coaching the cheerleading team.
Camacho, who has been coaching at the high school level for over 23 years, has been part of Bear River’s basketball staff for three years.
“I feel good about it,” said Camacho. “Some of the boys this year, I had coached them at the Junior Varsity level last year. I feel confident that the boys will do well.”
In the upcoming school year, Camacho plans to approach coaching with an emphasis on students enjoying their time playing, a priority he said is based in mindfulness of how the community has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I just want the boys to have fun this season,” said Camacho. “We’re just trying to get them ready and work on fundamentals, and we’ll see if they are going to have a season or not, but they will at least be ready to play some basketball.”
He has some logistical concerns regarding this year’s basketball season, which normally takes place in the winter, following the news that the California Interscholastic Federation has postponed football and other fall sports to later seasons. Students involved in multiple sports may find themselves managing conflicting schedules should there be unexpected overlap, a challenge he said will be an interesting learning experience for the team to navigate.
“I am excited to coach these young men, because they’re a good bunch of boys,” said Camacho.
As he takes on the job previously held by Ralph Lewis, who had coached at Bear River for over six years and died in May, Camacho said he sees in Bear River’s basketball players a drive to play in a way that would have made Lewis proud.
“These boys are looking to still play for Ralph. With what he accomplished, developed for them, and had done for them, I think the boys are taking all that to heart and want to do it for him this season,” said Camacho.
In an email, Bear River Athletic Director Scott Savoie wrote, “Jason brings a wealth of basketball coaching experience with him, including head coach experience at other schools, but his coaching experience separates him from others in his ability to relate, guide, and mentor the players he works with. We are lucky to have him.”
Wendi Press, Bear River’s new cheerleading coach, said she is excited to return to the cheerleading program which she participated in when she attended Bear River. She now brings with her around 10 years of experience instructing and coaching several levels of cheerleading.
“It’s very familiar, and it gives me even more incentive to keep the program strong and enthusiastic,” said Press.
She plans to begin the upcoming school year with a proactive approach to preparing the cheerleading team for upcoming seasons, and said conditioning could begin as early as this week.
“We plan to do conditioning and training throughout this fall, obviously exercising the distancing required. There is a lot that we can work on and strengthen to be prepared for the winter football season,” said Press.
With regards to the priorities she would like to instill in the team, she said, “It’s very important as a cheerleader to remain focused, have school spirit, and be a role model. I find it’s very important for the kids to succeed academically but also train athletically, and find a good balance between the two.”
Press emphasized that she views camaraderie as highly important for the team this year.
“The world is an interesting place to be in right now, and I think they could really use a great foundation. So, my focus is to make them feel they have something secure that they can count on, and that the school and district is right behind them in trying to develop them as athletes,” said Press. She added that she would like to see the community become increasingly involved in Bear River’s sports programs.
“It takes the whole community to make the school feel supported, and we would love to see more people come out to support and understand all that goes into these programs,” she said.
In reference to Press, Savoie wrote, “We are always excited to hire alumni because their level of commitment to our school and community is at a different level.”
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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