Athletes in the Crowd: Freshmen Edition

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.

Continue reading “Athletes in the Crowd: Freshmen Edition”

Growing Pains

A look at freshmen growing into their high school lives

By Mitchell Sterlitz

Everyone’s gone through it at least once. The unfortunate few, a couple of times. Most people can agree that freshman year of high school is usually an ugly duckling phase.

Transitioning from being the big fish at the middle school pond to bottom feeders clinging to the walls in high school, just hoping to make it to their sophomore year.

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Freshmen learn from upperclassmen as part of varsity sports

Freshman Andy Dolen was sitting on the soccer field after the third day of soccer tryouts, sweating.  But the 90 degree weather wasn’t the only reason why he was sweating; the mens varsity soccer coach was reading off the players who had made varsity.

“I was the last one called, so I was pretty nervous throughout the whole time he was reading the names,” Dolen said.

Almost immediately, though, he said he was welcomed by the upperclassmen when the captains invited him to go to lunch with them after he was named a varsity player. And throughout the season, the veteran players supported Dolen by helping him out when he was struggling at practice and giving him rides home.

“It was a good experience,” Dolen said. “People on varsity were really nice and welcoming, and it was good to have interactions with upperclassmen.”

While some might argue that experiences are lost when a student-athlete skips over freshman and junior varsity teams, Dolen found the season to be a positive one.

“The only thing different between JV and varsity is maybe the level of maturity.  It seems like they act more organized and better disciplined on varsity,” Dolen said.  “But team bonding is the same no matter what team you’re on.”

Team bonding examples included going to pre-game dinners at a player’s house and camping out in one of the captain’s yards.

From a coach’s standpoint, having a freshman on varsity can affect the team’s dynamic in a number of ways, both positive and negative.

“Negatively, their inexperience may open opportunities for opponents to take advantage of,” men and women’s varsity soccer coach Scott Forrester said.  “However, if a player makes the varsity team in our program, he must be a very good player.”

There are also advantages to having a novice on the field, according to Forrester.  He said they sometimes play better because they don’t realize the high stakes.

“The pressure isn’t the same as someone who knows the significance of high pressure games,” Forrester said.

According to Forrester, the experience of playing for one’s high school team is different from that of a club team.

He said the experience is sometimes better because “you go back to your school the next day and the topic is how the game went last night.”

Dolen also said having played with the upperclassmen on varsity will aid him with potential leadership positions in the future.

He said, “Now I’ll know how to treat the underclassmen in future years.  I’ll remember how I felt when the upperclassmen were nice to me, and I’ll know how it feels to be an underclassmen and how they’ll want to be treated.”

Senior Savannah Krull knows from experience that Dolen’s hypothesis is true.

Krull has played on the varsity womens softball team since her freshman year, and she will be a captain this spring.

“From watching the senior captains when I was a freshman, I know how I want the team to run,” Krull said.  “I know how to help the underclassmen on varsity and how to give them good advice that senior mentors gave me when I was a freshman.”

Krull found other benefits to playing varsity all four years, including having the same coach and being able to go to districts every year.

Above all, Krull found she was able to learn about the social aspects of playing on a team from her upperclassmen teammates four years ago.

“I already had the softball skills coming in, but I learned skills about cooperation and trusting my teammates,” she said.  “These are things I wouldn’t have necessarily learned if I had played with other people my age.”

Freshmen, read our advice (and do the exact opposite)

Welcome, incoming freshmen.

Being seniors, we have already put in three years of hard work at Dexter High School. When we were freshmen, the seniors gave us some great advice and we are here to give you the same advice — and maybe even better.

We came up with this advice while we were giving Miley Cyrus her twerking lessons.

As soon as you walk into those front doors, you have to remember that there are a few unwritten rules that you have to follow in order to have the best experience possible. We are here to help with this because we will magically take the ‘un-’ away from these rules.

First of all, we all know that this is an extremely huge deal to you, and you are all probably scared out of your mind about everyone and everything in this monster of a school.

Well, the truth of the matter is that you should be scared. It’s not like you can go back to Mill Creek, though, so you just need to suck it up and pay attention.

You’re definitely going to want to stand up to any upperclassmen who crosses your path. This means that you should be totally willing to get in someone’s face or maybe even get in a fight–if that’s what it takes.

Another key part of this rule is that you should always try to stand right in the front and center of the student section. Us seniors will no doubt want you to stand right up there and get all the attention because we sure wouldn’t want it all for ourselves.

There are also a few events that you should be aware of. If you manage to uncover the secret dates you should definitely mark your calendars.

One event is Freshman Wedgie Day, and since we’re so generous we’ll even let you in on a preview of our newest freshman event for this year: The Freshman Games. If you’re confused just think of the Hunger Games… only a lot worse.

Continuing on, once you get to know the school as well as we do, you will find that there are a few secrets and tricks that are worth noting.

If you want to become friends with Custodian Maria, just go ahead and spill food all over the cafeteria floor, preferably applesauce or chocolate milk, and she will definitely clean it all up for you with a huge smile on her face.

As for Connie Agostini, getting on her good side is quite easy. All you have to do is steal the Gator and go for a joy ride.

When it comes to the hallway, always try to get as big of a group of friends as possible and create the biggest log jam you can. If strangers complain about it, just stare them down and don’t listen at all–they will probably end up as your friends.

The last rule of thumb is if you feel the urge to punch someone, never hesitate. Dean of students Ken Koenig loves to see that sort of feistiness and will definitely back you up–maybe he’ll even ask you to join the football team.

Well, we’ve already given away too many of our secrets. You’re going to have to figure out the rest on your own.