From the best of the best, these freshmen have excelled on varsity teams
By Bailey Welshans
Rachel Dunklee – Dance
Since Rachel Dunklee was two years old, she’s had a passion for dancing. Other than making it onto the Varsity Dance team, one of Dunklee’s biggest accomplishments is going to National’s with her dance studio, Dancer’s edge, last year. She is an excellent student, keeping her grades up, and turning assignments in on time. Being one of two freshmen on the varsity dance team, Dunklee has a lot to live up to. However, it doesn’t seem to faze her.
“She does a very good job of learning routines quickly, and hitting all of the steps correctly,” senior dancer Evelyn Hawley said.
Junior Spencer Vollmers was waiting in the hallway for his cue. As the dance team started their routine during halftime, Vollmers several of his male classmates ran out to join them.
“I was nervous,” Vollmers said. “I couldn’t breathe for about half of it.”
This stress was the result of Vollmers and 15 other junior and senior men joining the all-female dance team during halftime of the Valentine’s Day men’s basketball game between Dexter and Ypsilanti.
This idea was the brainchild of dance coach Erin Shaver, who said she jumped at the idea of having a dance that involved some of the male body of DHS.
“I’ve had a great time with guy/girl dances in the past,” Shaver said. “When I saw there was a game on Valentine’s Day, it was an easy decision.”
Unlike Vollmers, senior Jeff Wicks said he wasn’t nervous during the dance. His butterflies came before the dance.
“During the dance, I wasn’t nervous because the adrenaline rush and support from the crowd got me going,” Wicks said. “I was probably more nervous before the dance because I didn’t want to mess up in front of the crowd.”
But the stress was worth it because Wicks wanted to support the dance team for all they’ve done for DHS athletics.
“The dance team has always been really supportive of the student section and Dexter athletics,” Wicks said. “I thought why not give back to the dance team.”
But with only a week to practice, Wicks and the other guys had a lot to learn.
“The practices were actually pretty difficult,” Wicks said. “It was pretty difficult to learn that much material in such short amount of time, especially for a lot of people who are so uncoordinated and really don’t dance very often.”
But junior Delaney Garcia said having the men perform brought a more interesting aspect to practice and improved over the short span they had.
“At first they were kinda confused,” Garcia said. “They got a lot better, and the practices were a lot more fun than just the regular dance team because of the different dynamic it brought. I think they did good, for such little time we had to teach them.”
Junior Sarina Wolf agrees and said she was impressed by their dedication.
“They were actually pretty into it the day of the game,” Wolf said. “We told them they could stay till 5, and the guys wanted to stay over 5 to practice more. They were super excited, and we weren’t expecting them to have that much dedication.” As for Shaver, she said the men performed well and she would love to do something like this again.
“It was very clear that they wanted to do a good job, and I thought the guys did a great job at the performance,” Shaver said. “I thought they represented the dance team very well, and I’d happily invite them back next year.”
More dance team information:
The varsity dance team is coming off a season that saw them finish 1st in pom, 1st in high kick and 2nd in hip hop during their competitive season.
“Last year was a transitional year for the team as it was my first year as their coach,” Coach Erin Shaver said. “With my dance team experience the girls were held to a higher standard than ever.”
Although this is a good result, Shaver has higher expectations for the team.
“My expectations for competition this year is to meet or exceed our placement at our last competition last year,” Shaver said. “I think they can do it.”
This year’s team features one senior, Sarah Griffith.
“Griffith is my one senior captain this year and she truly is the heart team,” Shaver said. “She’s a great motivator, choreographer, and ambassador. She has really shaped the team and will be VERY missed in future season.”
Having Griffith as the only senior on the team, brings a different dynamic to the team and is better for the team morale.
“I think it’s better because we don’t have so many opinions going against each other,” junior Delaney Garcia said. “Overall, there’s just less conflict.”