Rise Of The Real

Senior McKenna Sgroi focuses on individuality with unique lyrics to pursue his life-long dream of rapping

By: Marissa Rafail

Sitting next to McKenna Sgroi in class, you’d assume he’s like every other student at DHS. When he leaves school and stands in front of the microphone, the real McKenna shines through as he raps to his own music.
The senior dedicates most of his time working towards his long-term goal of becoming an artist and producing music. Recently having released his first studio-produced single “Rise of The Real,” Sgroi is already eagerly working on his next song with an underground artist from Ann Arbor, Eon Zero.
“Making music is a therapy for me,” Sgroi said. “It was the only thing able to shine a little light on a dark situation in my life. Music is what got me through it, and that’s why it means so much to me.”
His love for music dates back to his early childhood. From Eminem to Chris Webby to Dr. Dre, Sgroi grew up with a developing passion for music. At age thirteen, he got into rapping himself. His motive behind making his own music was to create a unique sound that shows who he is as an artist. After a few months of rapping and freestyling by himself, Sgroi took the second step towards making his music more official.
“Two years ago, my cousin said he knew about a studio I could visit, so I went with him and have been going back two-to-three times a month since,” Sgroi said.
Since Sgroi writes his own songs, his inspiration for his music and lyrics can come from anything, including his moods or the music itself. While writing, he makes sure the lyrics are different because he doesn’t want to sound like every other rapper. With the goal of individuality in mind, Sgroi lets the beat of the music help guide his songs.
“Anything can spark ideas for lyrics,” Sgroi said. “I’m always thinking about them, and if I’m in class and think of something, I’ll write it on my hand, paper, or in my notes so I won’t forget them.”
Throughout his journey in the music world, Sgroi met one of his favorite artists, Chris Webby, and talked to him about his passion for music on two different occasions. Meeting one of his idols and talking to him about music only strengthened his passion.
“He was surprised that I rapped at first, but he really just told me not to give up and that even if it’s not good now, it will be,” Sgroi said.
From showing friends his lyrics, to letting them get sneak peeks on upcoming music, Sgroi makes sure his friends know whats going on and leans on them for support.
“For where he is in life, his music is really good,” said Kyle Rook, Sgroi’s close friend. “His lyrics have a really good flow, and he puts a lot of time and thought into them.”
Sgroi plans on continuing to go to the studio in the future and to keep progressing with his lyrics and releasing new music. With long term goals of making money off his music and turning musical production into a profession, Sgroi’s determination and perseverance are helping guide him into the music world and achieve his lifelong dreams.

Memories from Members of DHS

Five years after the Dexter Tornado, two students, a teacher, and an administrator reflect on the how the day has changed their lives

By Megan Sarns and Julia Bell

Having formerly lived in Florida, sophomore Kara Young and her family are used to ominous weather conditions.

“We had hurricane after hurricane near our house,” she said.

So, when a storm started rolling into Dexter on March 15, she didn’t think much of it. The family was actually getting ready to go to church for weekly “Thursday night dinners.”

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ALFK – Black Lives Are (Still) Relevant

The Black Lives Matter movement hasnt gone away.  Nothing will stop it any time soonYou still need to fight.

By Claire Ward

There is a war waged on people of color in this country. Statistically, over 250 black people were killed by police in 2016, and while blacks only make up 13 percent of the US population, almost half of the incarcerated population is black. Institutionalized racism was brought to light during the 2016 Presidential Election, and our current president brings to light the power of racism as a joining force against humankind. African Americans were granted full freedom legally in 1890 under the 13th Amendment, then further protected from legal barriers by President Johnson in 1965. The fight for freedom has been a long one, and it’s no where close to over.

It’s hard to talk about race in a place as white as Dexter. It’s hard to talk about race being a white person with a lot of privilege (if you’re still confused about privilege, send me an email) who hasn’t really had a chance to experience racism firsthand. It’s hard for me to sit here and say black lives are tough when I don’t live one. Sometimes, the hardest things to say are what need to be said the most.

Living in a community like Dexter, we are guarded. Sure, we can read the news and stay caught up on current events, whether nationwide or worldwide, but we don’t experience a lot that others do. Those in a big city have more chances to see violence, racism, and discrimination; the list goes on as the population increases. Yet, at the same time we are almost more exposed to racism than those in big cities. Cities are accepting, filled with people of all genders and races and religions. Here in Dexter, we are divided into the accepting of all, and the accepting of some (with conditions for why you can’t accept certain groups). This division can be felt more strongly due to the size of the school. We split into groups with similar beliefs to us, and a smaller population means these groups seem smaller and smaller.

I have seen blatant racism countless times at DHS. I have seen it in students, in media, in parents. From slurs yelled out in anger, to discrimination from social groups because of the shade of someone’s skin. I have seen racism in Ann Arbor, in East Lansing, in Detroit, and probably every city I have ever been in. Maybe this is because of the groups I’m in, surrounded by white people and very underexposed to different cultures. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent my life working to acknowledge and fight racism, in turn making me more cognizant of the racism, using the privilege I hold to benefit others. Whatever the reason, the fact is it’s still there.

We have a system set up against people of color. Plea bargains are often offered to those who are faced with criminal charges, leading to 97 percent never reaching a trial. Innocent men and women fill penitentiaries simply because they cannot afford $40,000 bail, and may be faced with a longer sentence after going through the court process. It is easier for someone to spend three years in jail (where the government would rather have them) than anywhere else. Many people don’t know that companies like Victoria’s Secret, JCPenney, and Microsoft use prison labor to manufacture goods. Inmates can be paid to do work for less than a dollar, while prisons and the government make an $11 million profit on them. “Non-profit” companies, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), lobby politicians to make laws (like the Federal Crime Bill in 1994 that doubled mass incarceration) that make it extremely challenging for the African American population to escape prison. These companies go on to profit off of the prisons.

Black lives are constantly viewed as worth less than white lives. It has been 398 years since the first African was brought to the US in slavery. It has been 155 years since the Emancipation Proclamation. It has been 147 years since the right to vote was granted, but only 52 years since their right to vote was protected by law (which still isn’t guaranteed through voter registration laws). The black population has been fighting constantly, and have never caught a break in their battle for equality.

So next time you go to purchase something from a department store, do a little research and see just who your money is going to. Check yourself before you join in on your friends banter about African American culture, or partake in a peaceful protest against injustice in your community.

Black lives still matter. Just because the mainstream media isn’t telling you that anymore doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant. This fight is far from over, and it’s time we all use our privilege to aid in the resistance.

Being Transgender at DHS

2016 graduate Marcus Maier shares his experiences of coming out as transgender during his senior year at DHS

By Megan Sarns

In our October issue, we published an article about the fight for transgender equity at Dexter High School and efforts to make Dexter Community Schools safer for everyone. In continuation of that piece, Marcus Maier, who graduated from DHS in 2016, wanted to come forward and share his personal story.

“Ever since I was younger, I always told people I wished I was born male,” Maier said. “When people say it’s not a choice, it’s really not a choice. It’s just there.”

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Second Semester Seniors

For second semester seniors, the dreaded disease “senioritis” comes in three different shapes and sizes

By Truman Stovall

The second semester of a high schooler’s senior year has a stereotype that everyone has heard of. The infamous condition known as senioritis will affect every senior at Dexter High School to some degree. As their high school career comes to a close, a senior’s grades, involvement in extracurricular activities, and overall effort tends to dip below what was previously expected of them. By the time graduation comes around, the average senior has skipped at least a handful of school days and is averaging about ten hours of sleep a night.

This can’t be said for every senior, however. While some might stay awake until 3 a.m. at a Tuesday-night party in April, others might spend the same long night studying in their room. For some seniors, their second semester has little impact on their future. Others became infected with senioritis a long time ago. For the rest, it is critical to stay focused and to maintain a rigorous schedule. In this article, we’re going to analyze the three types of seniors you’ll encounter this semester, including the ones you won’t see as frequently in the halls anymore.

No. 1: Hakuna Matata

This type of senior has had plans set for a while. They either committed early to a college after being recruited, decided previously that they will attend a community college, or will enter the workforce right out of high school.

Either way, the point is that they have a well-developed case of senioritis, and this final semester of high school should be relatively easy. Some entered senior year with a reduced schedule, looking primarily to earn required credits for graduation. It may have been years since they last opened up a textbook.

This type of senior generally has less to worry about than the others. AP or IB tests are typically only applicable to four-year universities, and students with a scholarship to one may not weigh the monetary value of using a high score to test out of a course as heavily. In other words, it might not make sense to pay the high AP or IB test fee to have a chance to save on tuition if their tuition is already covered by the school.

One of these seniors is Gwen McCartney. After high school, she will attend Washtenaw Community College (WCC) and plans to transfer to another college later. This fact has influenced her class decisions in her final semester but not her level of effort.

When asked if she was the kind of person to stop trying in high school if it’s not necessary, she said, “If I have ambition, I’m going to try hard.”

And despite not knowing what she wants to study in college, she does have ambition. Her decision to attend WCC for a year was mainly to get some core classes out of the way before finalizing big choices for her future.

“I keep good grades and am in an IB class, but I dropped my first hour because I don’t need it,” she said.

Overall, she said that her situation compared to others “feels pretty good. I don’t have a lot to worry about.”

No. 2: Prepaid Ticket

The second group of seniors has very little to worry about as high school comes to a close. They likely submitted their first semester grades to their prospective colleges and suddenly lost most of their anxiety. At this point, many colleges stop looking at senior year grades since their admitted students have already proven themselves through seven semesters of hard work, unless their grades drop a little too far.

Seniors in this category might magically reveal to their counselors that they were never actually interested in a full class schedule this semester and think a reduced schedule will improve their “mental health.”

Despite being able to drop a bit of extra weight, these seniors can’t start spending more time at Taco Bell than in school. Athletes will have to stay in shape if they play a sport this spring and seniors in AP or IB classes might get college credit if they score well on their exams. Failing a class might become a huge problem if it’s required for graduation.

Nate Skinner is one of these seniors. After being recruited for lacrosse, he was offered admission to Moravian College in Pennsylvania and committed to the school near the end of 2016. Skinner admitted that his decision to commit was a factor in his academic choices leading up to his last semester in high school.

When asked how the rigor of his class schedule compared to last semester, he said that it was “about the same. I still took hard classes, but I’m not gonna lie — I dropped IB Math Studies.”

Academics is still a motivation for Nate, though. He will not receive an athletic scholarship from Moravian, so when asked if he will continue to try hard in school, he said, “Yes, I still need good grades to get more scholarships.”

He’s taking AP Macroeconomics and IB Biology, so it’s obvious he didn’t decide to give up. He said that he will probably take the AP exam, but was still unsure about taking an IB exam.

When asked if he would have been more certain about taking the exams if he hadn’t decided on a college, he said he would “definitely” take both.

Overall, his second semester has been a mixed bag. He joined the National Honor Society this year, but for another club, Students Needing Accepting Peers (S.N.A.P.), he said, ”I haven’t been to a meeting in a while.”

Skinner is determined to play well this spring in lacrosse. After all, it is the sport he was recruited to play. But he said that he isn’t too worried about taking a day off here and there, citing senior skip days, weekdays that many in the senior class collectively decide are good days for relaxation.

He is pleased to be able to confidently look forward as his tenure as a high schooler comes to a close, and his security certainly makes the mental transition into thinking about the future easier, “It’s nice knowing you’re going to have a place to be at. You can work on the next step.”

No. 3: The Mysterious Beyond

The third type of senior is generally in the worst position of all. For them, the future is unknown. They may be accepted into a college, but it’s not their first choice, or they are awaiting the result of the rest of their application decisions and won’t know where they’re going to end up for a while.

This puts them in limbo for a while as they watch their friends start talking to their college roommate next year, drop out of some difficult classes, and generally feel better about their future. Couple this envy with anxiety about the tests they have tomorrow in AP Biology and Honors Humanities, and it’s easy to understand why you don’t want to be this type of senior.

One of these seniors is Marc Lopez. He is stuck in the middle. He hasn’t committed to a college yet but is in the recruiting process, and he has a list of potential colleges. Compared to the seniors who have their decision set and stone, this can be quiet stressful.

“I didn’t apply anywhere through early action,” he said. “I’m pretty much only considering Memphis, Wayne State, Lake Superior State, Albion, and the University of Saint Francis.”

This eases some of the stress than some of the other seniors have in this category, but altogether he is still behind the people that have already committed. He has to continue in school to ensure his chances for scholarships.

“I try in school and think I’ve been pretty consistent,” he said. “I see [not knowing where I’m going yet] as motivation to stay focused. But, at the same time, I have lost some motivation running.”

This kind of senior year is a lot like junior year all over again, except instead of hating yourself and having your grades all but determine which colleges you will get into, you still don’t know which colleges you’re going to get into and still hate yourself.

Athletes in the Crowd

An inside look into a few of the varsity athletes playing their sport this winter

By Caden Koenig

Tony Seidl

Starting possibly his last season of basketball that could end a career that started way back in second grade, senior Tony Seidl expects to be a leader on the boys varsity basketball team. “I’d like to impact my team by being a leader, being loud, and talking during the games,” Seidl said. “I am most excited for Chelsea week because it will be two good teams, and the rivalry makes it even more fun.” This year’s team is very experienced with multiple seniors and juniors returning with playing experience. This season’s expectations are to continue Dexter basketball’s winning tradition.

Drew Golin

Coming off a state championship last year, junior Drew Golin and the rest of the men’s swim team fully expect to be in contention for a state title once again. Despite being ill right before states last year, Golin still gained six points for the Dreads and wants to get more this year. “This year, I need to move up from that; I got sick last year so I expect to get more points,” he said. The swim team expects to have another long run that starts with a SEC title and ends with a repeat championship.

Brandon Wright

Brandon Wright is the leading scorer on this year’s hockey team, which currently sports a 2-5 record near the season’s midpoint. As the senior captain, Wright aims to get the underclassmen on the team more involved. “As the captain I try to create a better atmosphere for the younger kids,” he said. Finishing off a full 12-year career of hockey, Wright has multiple goals. “For the team, I expect to at least go .500 this year; a lot of teams are bigger and faster than us, so we have to be smarter. For myself, I need to step up in scoring and help spreading the puck,” he said.

Mckenna Graham

Head Coach Mike Bavineau and assistant coach Lauren Thompson have called upon some younger players to join the girls varsity basketball team this season. One of these underclassmen is sophomore Mckenna Graham. “I am most excited for the season because it will be a good experience to be on varsity,” Graham said. “And it will help us grow and develop for next year.”  Despite losing a heavy senior class, there is optimism for a solid season with the younger team.

Holiday Hustle

Runners, many dressed in holiday garb, enjoyed Dexter’s annual one-mile and 5K charity runs

By: Andy Dolen

Dexter’s annual December run, the Holiday Hustle, was held Saturday, December 10 in downtown Dexter. The event offered a one-mile run and a 5K run, and included all ages, genders and even pets.

The Holiday Hustle is a charitable event with entry fees ranging from $19 to $34 depending on ages and the preferred run. There is also the option to donate more money or non-perishable food items.

The start of both races was at the center of the downtown area near the gazebo. Food stands, warming tents, and other festive scenes were set up all around Monument Park for the hundreds of runners participating in the event.

The one-mile event sent the runners through a small part of the neighborhood surrounding downtown while the 5K spanned through the Huron Farms neighborhood.

Participants came out prepared for the holiday run with creative outfits and costumes ranging from reindeer hats to full Santa Claus costumes. Dexter roared with Christmas music until around 6:00 p.m. Saturday night after the final runners crossed the finish line.

Cross country and track runner Jack Shelley is an annual participant in the event along with many high school teammates.

“It’s just a nice race overall,” he said. “And it’s good to see where my time is at before the track season arrives.”

Shelley also said nearly half of the cross country conditioning team participated in the event as well.

“There was also a lot of good competition outside of the team,” Shelley said.

Fun or Fear?

As clown sightings have reached record highs, a fear sparked in the ‘80s has returned

By Claire Ward & Lisa Zuiderveen

“I do not want any killer clowns anywhere near here, or fake killer clowns. No clowns of the killer variety.”

Senior Gigi Eisele has an opinion that many can agree with. She, like others student at Dexter High School, has heard the stories. The ones where a bunch of friends are hanging out on a Friday night, driving to a friend’s house when something catches their eye from the side of the road. As the car pulls back around to check it out everyone realizes what the figure standing on the side of the road is.

Dressed in rainbow polka dots, big shoes, and that classic red nose, he stands on the side of the road with a balloon in his hand.  Speeding away, they can see him running at the car through the back window, moving faster than what seems possible in a costume like that.

This is the basic story for so many people across the United States lately. It started in Greenville, South Carolina, with the first report to police on September 29. From here, sightings spread around Greenville, and as word grew, across the U.S. By the middle of October, sightings had been reported in nearly all 50 states, 9 of 13 Canadian provinces, and 18 other countries. The threat of killer clowns used to be an idea that was laughed at, saved only for theaters. Now, it’s become a worldwide epidemic.

Police warn people of the threat clowns pose, especially over Halloween weekend. The typical playful costume has now become dangerous. Major retailer Target pulled clown masks and costumes off its shelves for the holiday, but places such as Party City still sold the costumes – even with “scary” versions.

One thing is for sure, stepping outside in clown attire is not safe anymore. Officer Jeremy Hilobuk warns students to be cautious, and “be aware that this is something to be aware of.”

So far, clown sightings have spread across the state, reaching from Manistee to Detroit, and endless cities in between. Flint and Jackson have both received reports of clowns, and with Jackson only 30 miles from Dexter we’re left to wonder how long until the clowns make their way into our town.

Eisele believes that DHS will   remain relatively safe from the clowns, but is not completely sure. “Someone did paint a clown on the rock,” she said.

Meanwhile, senior Madison Delacy believes students should keep clowns out of the classrooms; “I feel like clowns shouldn’t be a joke at school because some of them really scare kids,” Delacy said. “I don’t think it’s okay to go around wearing a clown outfit either. That’s just creepy.”

A survey of 100 DHS students showed 29 percent would run if they saw a clown, and 25 percent would do something violent. The 46 percent said that they wouldn’t do anything.

Others, like senior Luan “Tom” Nguyen, stated that they would turn to social media. Nguyen, an international student from Vietnam, said he would “take a picture, put [it] on Facebook and ask ‘If you saw a clown what would you do?’”

“I think it’s kind of funny when you see clowns walking around, but it’s not funny when it’s threatening people’s safety,” Nguyen said.

Many DHS students agree with this statement as 69 percent of students surveyed think that dressing up as a clown isn’t funny.

The anxious feeling many get when thinking about, looking at, or hearing about clowns is not rare. The term “coulrophobia” was developed in the ‘80s to give name for the irrational fear of clowns. Stephen King’s “It” was published in 1986, with the movie following in 1990. Other movies such as “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” and “Poltergeist” add to the terror. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was running wild in the mid-70s dressed in clown attire, arrested for the sexual assault and the murder of 33 young men while under the name of Pogo the Clown.

Just as every fashion nightmare returns, so have clowns. Hilobuk believes that the clown issue, while “it’s kind of died down in the past few weeks” is still something students need to be cognizant of.

“[We] still need to be aware of it,” he said. “Something like that doesn’t necessarily go away.”

The majority of Dexter students claimed if they saw a clown they wouldn’t do anything, but some mentioned calling the police. DHS English teacher Barry Mergler said assessing the situation first is key.

“It depends; at a circus, okay that fits. Walking around at night, avoid it and keep moving. Maybe call the police if my kids were with me” Mergler said.

The clown frenzy that filled the end of the millenia seemed to die down for the early 21st century, but clowns have made a comeback.

As Delacy said, “Clowns are now like a weird trend to scare other people. As someone who is afraid of clowns, I’m not a fan.”

 

Air Jordan

At 17, Senior Jordan McGinnis is one of the nation’s youngest female pilots

By Julia Bell

When school ended last June, most students threw their backpacks in the closet and didn’t even consider picking up a book.  Jordan McGinnis, a senior at Dexter High School, spent hours every day with her nose inside of Gleim Test Prep, a textbook used to prepare for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Private Pilot License Exam. 

A private pilot license (PPL) is a certification that allows the holder to act as the commanding pilot of a private aircraft.  In the United States, you must be 17 years old to hold a private pilot license. 

Jordan turned 17 this May, and earned her PPL in September, making her one of the youngest female license-holders in the nation.  She is one of only 423 young women in the the United States between the ages 17 and 19 to hold a license.

Jordan discovered her passion for flying in seventh grade, but it has always played an important role in her life. Jordan’s father, Colonel John McGinnis, recently retired from the United States Marine Corps after 28 years of service. He spent many years as a fighter pilot and now flies commercially for Delta Airlines. Jordan has always been proud of her dad’s work, and now he feels the same pride towards Jordan.

“It’s been amazing watching Jordan work towards a goal over the course of two years,” he said. “[She’s made] a lot of sacrifices to complete what she started.”

Jordan began flying during the summer before 11th grade.  She participated in flight lessons every day from July through August.   The day before her father retired from the Marine Corps, after 20 hours of instructed flying, Jordan completed her first solo flight. “I didn’t know I was doing it that day,” she said. “I was up practicing take offs and landings and they were going well. When we landed my instructor asked how I felt about them and then asked how I felt about doing my first solo flight.” Jordan’s response was simple, “Let me call my mom first.”

During her junior year, school work took precedence over flying. “During junior year I only flew four times,” she said. “One was my first cross country flight, which was definitely scarier than my first solo flight. There was a really strong headwind, so we had to make an unexpected stop for fuel.” Once school ended, she began studying for her licensing exam. 

Jordan is a drum major for the Dexter High School Marching Band and a varsity cross country runner.  Between drum major responsibilities, cross country practice, flight lessons, and studying, Jordan was left with little time to relax this summer.  “As a student pilot you aren’t allowed to fly at night. One morning I got up at 4:45 to get to the airport at 6 so I could start flying as soon as it was technically day,” she said. “I had a band leadership seminar at 9 and had to go straight there from the airport. Afterwards we had a full band rehearsal.”

The FAA private pilot knowledge exam is a 60 question written exam. In order to pass the written portion, one must receive a score of 70 percent or above.  Jordan’s dedicated summer of studying earned her an exceptional score of 88 percent.  “I know that while I didn’t necessarily spend my summer how I hoped, I went in to both my check ride and FAA test feeling confident. That was huge for me,” she said. “I didn’t want to barely pass. I wanted to do well enough that when I finally got the chance to take people flying I could be confident.”

Last summer, Jordan attended a week long seminar at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Following graduation, Jordan hopes to attend either the Naval Academy or the Air Force Academy with the intent to serve in the United States Navy. Her long term goal is to become a fighter pilot. “I want to be a part of something that’s for a greater purpose and that’s why I want to go into the military,” she said. “I’ve known that this is something I’ve wanted to do since I was in seventh grade, and earning my private pilot’s license was the first step to getting there.”

Athletes in the Crowd

Here are some key athletes from their respective teams who you should keep an eye on for the rest of the season and beyond

By Caden Koenig and Nick LeBlanc
Alex Janosi- Water Polo

“Our team goal is to be the best ranked Dexter water polo team ever, which is fourth in the state,” senior Alex Janosi said.  Janosi is in his third full year on varsity and is a co-captain. As the season progresses, Janosi realizes this season could be his last year playing water polo as he is undecided about what the future will hold. “I really want to make the most of what we have this year; we have a lot of skill,” he said. Janosi and the rest of his team are excited to see if they reach the “best team ever” goal.

Jack Shelly- Cross Country

For most people, being the best on their team is the goal. Not for senior runner Jack Shelley. “I would really like to be top twenty in the state,” he said. Shelley, now 30th in the state, has been running since he was young and has been running for Dexter since freshman year. However, Shelley doesn’t plan to stop running af    ter graduation. “It’s a deal breaker if I can’t run at a school after high school,” he said.

Annette Schultz- Swimming

Annette Schultz started swimming at the age of six and started USA swimming at 10.  Since then, Schultz has held state records during her three years of varsity swimming and was named Michigan High School Swimmer of the Year for the 2015-2016 school year.  As Schultz’s high school career comes to an end, the process of college searching has begun. “I have a few colleges in mind,” Schultz said. “Right now I’m just trying to keep my options open.”

Nick Fileccia- Football

After not playing football since the eighth grade, junior Nick  Fileccia is hopeful that his return can help the Dexter football team. Nick hasn’t let his time off slow him down: “My goal is to have the most touchdowns,” he said. So far, Fileccia has scored three touchdowns and is pushing to get more. Watch for Fileccia, No. 13, on Friday nights.