A look back at some memorable fall athletes along with a pair of winter athletes to keep an eye on.
By Jed Howell
By Jed Howell
By Squall Staff
The Dexter field hockey team defeated Ann Arbor Huron 2-1 in overtime on Thursday to advance to Saturday’s Division 1 title game.
Thanks to @bcheezit, we have video of Emma Tamer’s game-winning goal.
Dexter will play Ann Arbor Pioneer in the championship game. Dexter lost to Pioneer in last year’s semifinals.
Pioneer is looking to win its third straight Division 1 championship. Dexter is looking to win its second in theee years (Dexter won the 2014 Division 2 championship).
“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.
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 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.”
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.
This season, the Dreads have shown improvement through six games. What has been the constant downfall of the team is the lack of personnel, which has caused players to get tired as the games have progressed. The Dreads still have a positive outlook despite the 0-6 record: “Every week before a game we try and put together quality practices,” senior Seamus McCurren said. “We had a good week of practice before Tecumseh and managed to get into the redzone four times in the first half.”
The Boys Soccer team is a main contender for the SEC White division this year. With a record of 14-4-1 (7-2 in conference play), the Dreads like their odds to compete in districts and beyond. After defeating Chelsea 2-1, senior Austin Graham said, “I have confidence in my team this year. I think we can win states.”
The cross country team took 3rd in the most recent divisional meet and is looking to improve and win the the next one. “We are a very young team with a strong brotherhood,” senior Tyrus Wood said. “We are looking to bring home a big victory at the end of the season and do better than we did last year at the state meet in November.”
With only four seniors, the volleyball team is finding success with underclassmen stepping up to play big roles on the court. The Dreads (21-14) hope to end their season on a high note. “Our season is going a lot better than expected and I am excited to see how we do in districts later this season,” senior Captain Mary Gallagher said.
The field hockey team is once again a state championship caliber team, with an undefeated 10-0-2 record. “Right now, we are tied for first in the division,” junior Marin Waddington said. “We hope to win the state championship.”
So far this year, the Tennis team has been suffering from a lack of participants. Students who had never played competitive tennis were joining the team midseason. Despite this, the team is still winning. “We placed second in the SEC’s and managed to overcome some challenges we faced during the season,” senior Brandon Wiegers said.
The men’s water polo team at DHS believes it is more capable of competing against top teams this year than last, and much of it has to do with new players and leadership.
Last year’s team was talented, but some key players were seniors. It’s hard in many sports to replace a solid senior class, but current senior Alex Janosi believes the team “definitely made up the talent that was lost.”
Janosi, along with Ben Daugherty and Kevin Kimmel, are captains who have all been with the team since their freshman years. Along with a new assistant coach, Steven Sobczak, the team’s leadership has started to focus more on improvement this year.
“A key part is having a better mindset,” Janosi said. “Last year, thinking we were great got in our heads.”
As a result, the team lost many games against top teams by large margins. This year, these types of games have been much more competitive.
A big game against Skyline was lost only in a penalty shootout, and the team was able to take down Pioneer in a tournament during an early-season tournament. It’s predicted that the district could be won by anybody this year, but Dexter is now in the conversation.
A big boost to the team has been new players, including senior Randy Gesell and the Sterlitz brothers, who transferred from California.
The transition was difficult for Gesell, who had “never even watched a water polo game” before joining the team.
“The first practice was really hard,” he said. “Swimming is too tiring, so I mostly play goalie. Sobczak is keeping us in shape though.”
He’s improving every day, though, and he might be able to help his team by playing outside of the goalie net later in the season.
Freshman Mitchell Sterlitz originally joined to “have fun and meet people” despite never having played water polo either. He doesn’t regret it, adding he “has fun just playing against other teams and winning.”
During the Dreads’ opening drive, a holding call and an illegal man downfield call spoiled a seemingly promising drive. More mental mistakes came at other inconvenient times during the game, too.
The costly mistakes proved too much to overcome as Fowlerville defeated Dexter 49-13.
“I think we could’ve done a better job of playing smarter and playing our own game of football,” senior Travon Reid said.
The Dreads first scored in the second quarter when senior Joey Hiser found junior Nick Fileccia wide open in the end zone. However, Dexter failed to convert on the extra point as it was blocked.
During the game, senior Joey Hiser and junior George Deljevic shared time at quarterback for the Dreads.
Once the the first half ended, with Dexter trailing 28-6, the Dreads became visibly tired. At the defensive end, they began to give up big run after big run.
A big part of that is the lack of depth the Dreads have on both offense and defense.
“It’s tough because the linemen are playing both ways the whole game,” senior Chris Kaufman said. “That starts to take a toll on our running game.”
Despite the loss, the Dreads still have some positive things to reflect on.
“Even though we lost, we all kept our heads up and played as hard as we could,” Kaufman said. “We could expand on our confidence and putting all of our hard work during practice into our games.” The loss against Fowlerville marks the 24th consecutive defeat for the Dreads, but that won’t deter the Dreads. With eight regular season games remaining, the boys are looking to retain a positive outlook.
“This team has more heart and character than any other team I have coached in the last 25 years,” Head Coach Ken Koenig said. “We made some mental mistakes last night at crucial times that set us back. They are all correctable things that we will get right to work on.”
Many athletes only dream of competing in the Olympics, but Dexter alum Lex Williams actually got a shot to compete for his spot on Team USA.
Williams is a long distance runner and ran in the 1500-meter run in Eugene, Oregon, in July in an attempt to qualify for Team USA.
Although he did not make the final cut – only the top 3 Americans in each event qualify – he got the experience of a lifetime. Only the top 30 runners in the U.S. were able to compete in this event.
High School and Childhood
Williams established himself as a star early on at the age of 10 when he won the AAU 1500m. This success continued into his high school career when he finished first in the 3200m at the state meet and third place in the 1600m at indoor nationals. He also left a piece of himself at Dexter by setting and retaining two school records in the 800m and the 1600m.
Despite all of these individual accomplishments, Williams’s favorite moments in high school are with his team: “I did some cool things as an individual, but those [three state titles] are probably my best memories,” Williams said.
Running at Michigan
After graduating from DHS, Williams ran at the University of Michigan. While there he was an All-American and was first in the Big Ten in the 5,000-meter run.
From Michigan he continued to start his professional career. Williams signed as a professional athlete with the running brand, Saucony, and the sports drink, SOS Rehydrate.
During his professional career Williams has one memory that stands out.
“Breaking four in the mile is my favorite memory I have of running,” Williams said.
The four-minute-mile barrier is the benchmark for elite milers.
After his olympic trial, he described his experience in Eugene with a smile on his face: “It was awesome. I thought I ran a great race, and just didn’t have it the last 30 meters. I got passed by three guys.”
He was one of the leaders for most of the race until the last stretch when everyone picked up the pace to cross the finish line to qualify for the next round.
“It ended quicker than I wanted to. I placed 28th, 28th in the country,” Williams said laughing. “I can walk away and be happy with that.
“The accomplishment of making it there was my personal olympic medal.”
The whistle blew and the Dexter Varsity Field Hockey team took the field for their first game of the 2016 season.
Freshman goalkeeper, Maggie Jones, arrived with something to prove as this was her first game in a Dexter uniform.
If I’m thinking about being nervous, then it’s hard to focus on the game and the shots that are coming at me,” Jones said. “…my teammates have made it really easy to not feel nervous.”
This was also the first game that Trish Machemer took the field as Dexter’s head coach after being an assistant coach for several years.
Machemer was joined by assistant coach Tori Westhead, a recent graduate of Saint Louis University where she was the goalkeeper for four years. Growing up in Ann Arbor and playing field hockey at Huron High School, Westhead was excited to find a coaching position near home where she could continue to work with the field hockey community.
Dexter took control of the game from the start and showcased their talent with a commanding 6-0 win over East Grand Rapids, proving that their freshman keeper and new coaches had earned their spots on the team.
I feel a lot of pressure when I’m playing,” Jones said. “I remind myself I’m just here to play because I love it and I’m going to do my absolute best in goal.”
Expectations for the season are very high. The coaches and players feel that they have an even stronger and more experienced team than the 2014 Division II state champion team. With such a veteran team, they’re dead set on winning another state championship.
“We’re looking forward to the season,” senior midfielder Sam Labadie said. “We have a lot of talent and coaches that know how to win.”
Labadie and the rest of the team have their minds set on winning a Division I State Championship. The veteran team is almost entirely made up of upperclassmen with the exception of its freshman goalkeeper.
Led by 11 seniors, the varsity team understands what it takes to be victorious after winning the Division II State Championship two seasons ago.
“We are looking to capitalize on the fact that we have such an experienced group, and are eager to end our last season at DHS on a high note,” Labadie said.