March Madness’s Sweet 16

Teams to watch out for in this year’s edition of March Madness

By: Nick LeBlanc and Alex Strang

Madness is in the air.  The sights and sounds of seasons being crushed, top seeds being overly confident in their ability to “win it all”, and lower seed hopefuls quickly ruining said hope is going to become all too familiar.

Before jumping into this year’s bracket, it’s important to first remember those whom have fallen in last years season of March Madness and learn from their mistakes.  In memoriam of No. 2 Michigan State, who lost in the first round to No. 15 Middle Tennessee; No. 4 California, who lost first round to No. 13 Hawaii; and No. 3 West Virginia, who lost to No. 14 Stephen F. Austin.  Bracketeers everywhere will never underestimate the power of an upset because of your mistakes.  Thank you.

“There will be more upsets this year than there has ever been before,” senior Brandon Wright said. “This year, there are no teams that are significantly better than others like there has been in the past with Duke or Kentucky.”

Jumping into this year’s bracket, here are some of the overly confident high seeds and hopeful low seeds to look out for.

Within the South region of the bracket, arguably the three top teams in the nation, No. 1 North Carolina; No. 2 Kentucky; and No. 3 UCLA, all have to fight for national championship glory within one region.  Having the most top heavy region shows as the top four seeds in the region all advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.  The only interesting upset came from No. 12 Middle Tennessee in the first round.  Other than that, expect either North Carolina, Kentucky, or UCLA to be representing the South region on April 1st in the Final Four.   

In terms of the south region, Sophomore Logan Eggleston thinks UCLA will come out on top: “UCLA is going all the way.”

On to the Midwest, the team to look out for is Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen.  They are red hot coming out of their conference championship victory and have something to prove as underdogs.  In terms of the Midwest No. 1 seed, Kansas, expect them to continue their trend of choking under the pressure of March Madness: they lose to Purdue in the Sweet 16.

“Michigan is hot right now, but not talented enough overall to win the whole thing,”  junior Janie Harshe, a Michigan fan, said.

In the West lies more uncertainty.  Teams like No. 12 Princeton and No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast had the potential to pull off their respective upsets against No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 3 Florida State, but fell short.  Now, after the round of 64, the only upset to take place in the West was No. 11 Xavier over No. 6 Maryland.  No. 1 Gonzaga, after coming off a 32-1 season, has the potential to not make the Final Four even after their tremendous season as the stout, No.4 West Virgina and No. 2 Arizona stands in their way.

After the defending champ, Villanova, was knocked out of the tournament by No. 8 Wisconsin, and No. 2 Duke was knocked out by No. 7 South Carolina, the East bracket is left wide open for the remaining teams participating in the Sweet Sixteen.  Expect No. 4 Florida to seize the opportunity and make it to the Final Four.

Before the tournament began, the Squall staff predicted Duke to be the winner of the biggest tournament of the year.  In a revised pick, the Squall is now taking Kansas to cut down the nets.  Personally, we believe UCLA will take home the trophy, but we also picked Michigan State to win it all last year, so take the advice with a grain of salt, because in reality, you have a better chance of winning the Powerball or getting struck by lightning than picking a perfect bracket, even from here on out.

Sport Specialization

Playing only one sport might not give you the athletic performance you are hoping to have

By Alex Strang

Many athletes only play one sport in their later years of high school, but if they want to take their athletics to the next level, that might not be the best option. It also causes overuse injuries because your body is not supposed to do the same movements all year long.

There are many reasons athletes choose to specialize. Some athletes feel pressured to excel at one sport and to put all of their effort into it. Others think that if they practice one sport all year they will have an edge over somebody who plays two or three sports and does not focus on only that sport. Athletes who have aspirations of playing at the next level might think that college coaches want them to play that sport as much as they can, leading them to specialize.

Dexter Athletic Director and Varsity Women’s Basketball Coach Mike Bavineau says that he has seen an increase in specialization. The decrease in two sport athletes has not been too dramatic, but there is a large drop off in three sport athletes: he said only three kids in the entire class of 2016 played three sports.

“You want kids to be in as many pressure situations as possible,” Bavineau said.

When winter rolls around, he wants his players to be used to that pressure of the game being on the line. He says there are many benefits to playing another sport: leadership skills, making them a better teammate, giving the body a rest from one sport, exposing the athlete to competition with different people.

Dexter Athletic Trainer Trevor O’Brien believes that the body needs a break and athletes should not play one sport year round.

“Statistics show that if you play more than one sport you’re less likely to get injured,” O’Brien said. “This is because overuse injuries are more common in one sport athletes. “Your body will adapt to multidirectional movement if you play multiple sports instead of just one movement year round like throwing a baseball.”

All you have to do to give your body a break from the same repetitive movements is to play another sport. Many sports complement each other and improve skills in the other sport. For example, cross country and soccer both have a focus on cardiovascular endurance. Since women’s soccer is in the spring and cross country is in the fall, these sports go hand in hand. Field hockey and ice hockey work similar skills as in lacrosse.

Many female athletes at DHS play field hockey and lacrosse while many male athletes on the ice hockey team also play lacrosse. Lacrosse and hockey are similar sports, but at the same time different enough where they work different movement patterns and planes that will prevent overuse injuries.

Junior Daniel Higgins believes it is a good idea to play two sports that compliment each other and he proves it works. In the fall, Higgins is a starter on the varsity soccer team. In the spring he runs varsity track. He is one of the fastest athletes on both teams.

Last spring he went to states and nationals as a member of the 4×800 meter relay team.

“Both sports improve my cardiovascular endurance and speed, so the two complement each other well,” he said. Soccer helps me with track and the track workouts help me for soccer.”

Most pro athletes played at least two sports in high school, and some even in college. Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson, Robert Griffin III, Jabrill Peppers, and Bo Jackson are all common names in football, but they all have something else in common, too. They all ran track. They are some of the fastest players in the game. If you could pick one athletic trait that separates Division I bound athletes from the average high school athlete, it is unquestionably speed. Speed is one of the most important skills for so many sports other than football, including soccer, field hockey, basketball, and hockey.

It’s no secret that the football program at Dexter has struggled in past years. Reasons for the lack of success are widely debated. But no matter what you think the program needs for success, one major skill that would help is speed. It puts the team at a disadvantage when they compete against teams like Chelsea, Saline, and Ypsilanti that have many of their skill players running track in the spring. The Dexter track team has lacked football players in recent years.

Former Dexter football defensive coordinator George Michos said if there is a good track coach, he would definitely want his skill players to run track.

“It teaches you the proper way to run and gets you fast. You can either pay somebody to coach you the proper way to run or you can just run track,” Michos said.

He believes the program will be more successful if more players run track because it will make the team faster overall.

There are always college recruiters at track and field invitational meets, but they are not only track recruiters. There are often college football recruiters and coaches talking to kids at meets in the spring. There are recruiters from a variety of sports watching kids that compete in track and field as a second sport.

If you only play one sport but want to be the best athlete you can be or have aspirations to continue a sport in college, the evidence suggests playing another sport too. If you can find a sport that complements one that you already play, your athletic performance can improve, and your risk of injury should decrease.

Athletes in the Crowd

A preview of a few spring athletes to watch as well as a look back at the distinguished career of a winter wrestler

By Caden Koenig

Darby Baird:

As a senior captain, Baird expects a solid season coming from the lady Dreadnaughts. “I see my team winning about 75 percent of our games if we take this season seriously,” Baird said. This is her fifth year playing lacrosse and she plans to continue on in college. “I plan on impacting the team by being a captain and making sure we keep our sportsmanship during our games whether or not they are hard or easy.”

Matthew Sinelli:

Entering his final season as a baseball player, senior Matt Sinelli will be an impact player for this upcoming season. Sinelli is a utility player, which is a big key to why he is such a valued player on the team this season. Last year, the baseball team won the SEC and was one of the top 10 teams in the state. Sinelli, being a part of this, is now able to step up as an experienced leader to help continue Dexter baseball’s consistently winning seasons. “We will all have to do our part, but there is no doubt that we can win the SEC again,” he said.

Continue reading “Athletes in the Crowd”

Athletes in the Crowd

A look back at some memorable fall athletes along with a pair of winter athletes to keep an eye on.

By Jed Howell

Travon Reid, Football

 Fan favorite and four-year Dexter football veteran, Travon Reid touched the field for the last time this fall. His cardboard cutout will no longer fly over the student section on Friday nights. Reid was a two-year starter on varsity both his junior and senior year, and he contributed to the team as an offensive and defensive lineman. Reid described his final game as “relieving” and “emotional.” He enjoyed his time playing football, but wishes there had been more players that came out each year.

Claire Ketzner, Cross Country

Inspired by her friend Dani Waidley, Claire Ketzner decided to run cross country. Ketzner quickly made her way onto varsity, crediting soccer for keeping her in shape and giving her a solid starting point for the cross country season. Eventually, she worked her way into the top spot on the team. At regionals, Ketzner was the lone qualifier for the state meet finishing 15th with an impressive time of19:15.6. At the state meet, Ketzner ran a 20:23.5, finishing151st out of 244 competitors. “It was fun, but it didn’t go quite as planned. I didn’t run as fast as I wanted to.”

Drew Bishop, Basketball

“I was super excited to be able to make an impact on our team.” Last season Drew Bishop was one of two underclassmen on the varsity basketball team. He received a generous amount of playing time, and will get even more time on the court this season. His goals include winning both the SEC title and districts. Bishop also hopes to win at least 15 games this winter. Look for Bishop to have an impressive second season on the court.

Sammi Corcoran, Basketball

 “Intimidated, yet honored.” As a lone freshman on varsity, Sammi Corcoran quickly found out that she had a lot to learn. She was joining a group of girls who were very close and very skilled, but this didn’t stop her. Corcoran credits her success in her sophomore season to the girls she played with her freshman year. She learned how to be more confident on the court and how to trust her teammates. In Corcoran’s third varsity season, she hopes to win the SEC title and defeat Chelsea.

Returning to the top

They’ve been sixth in the state for two years running and the mens water polo team hopes to continue the tradition.

However, according to Assistant Coach Andrew Leonard, the loss of graduated players and the lack of a big senior class, the team’s position in the state will be more difficult to maintain.

Last year, co-captains Max Merriman and Michael Garcia brought the team to states with a win against the higher-ranked Skyline team.

This year, the varsity team consisted of seniors, juniors and sophomores; however, there are fewer seniors and only one junior. The rest of the team is made up of sophomores.

“Experience is the best teacher,” senior Max Korinek said. “That’s why we could struggle this year. It’s such a young team.”

There have been three tournaments so far this year, resulting in only three Dexter wins out of approximately 12 games. The team faced a state champ Rockford team, the state runners-up Huron and another top four-ranked team, Pioneer. All of these games resulted in losses.

The road to states will mean facing teams like Rockford, Huron and Pioneer again. While the the team had its first season win against Chelsea recently, they will have to play Saline and Ann Arbor Pioneer for district rankings.

After all the district games, if they place first or second, then they can advance to regionals against either Saline or Pioneer, which coach Leonard said could be difficult for the young team.

If this can be done, the water polo team will have to play state-ranked Ann Arbor Huron again, along with Ann Arbor Skyline and Okemos. But senior captain Andrew Watson said despite the rough schedule, the team will still enjoy the season.

He said, “It’ll be a tough season for us, but we’ll make the best of it and have a good time in and out of the water.”

Mens soccer hopes to return to states

The mens soccer team is coming off a season in which they went to states and finished in the final four. Currently ranked sixth in the state with an 8-3-1 record, the possibility of returning to states isn’t out of the question according to Coach Scott Forester who thinks it’s hard to consider the postseason yet.

Forester said, “With three weeks left in the regular season, it’s hard to think that far ahead.”

Senior Owen Brooks agrees.

“It’s hard not to look ahead, but that’s definitely a mindset we have to have.We still have a lot of games left before the playoffs and those are what we need to focus on right now.”
Even though districts are a distance away, Forester thinks there will be strong teams that can compete well with Dexter.

Forester said, “Our district draw hasn’t occurred yet however, strong teams like Mason and Chelsea are in there, which will it make it difficult to win at that level of the tournament.”

The tough challenges moving forward may prove a test for Dexter, but they’ve beaten tough teams before and know how to play against tough opponents. This gives them an advantage over other teams because of that experience that is valuable to the teams success according to Forester.

Forester said, “The team has shown an ability to take on the best and compete well with them.”
The team is experienced too as eight out of the 11 starters from last year return the two captains, seniors Levi Kipke and Tony Pisto. Forester said they bring leadership and an understanding on how to return to states and what it takes to get back.

Forester said, “Having them for another year, knowing what it takes to compete at the highest level, they are able to share that with their teammates.”
With the leadership of their captains, Brooks said the team knows how to return to states and know that they can.

He said, “Having been to to states once was an awesome experience, but it makes us want to work even harder this year to go all the way.”
Being to states before, the dreadnaughts know what to expect from the other teams that made it that far and how to prepare for them.

Brooks said, “We know what to expect and the types of teams we will be up against.”

The experience of Kipke and Pisto, trickle down to the new players too including junior Jake Rayer.

“Their experience really helps us out and helps us to achieve our goal,” Rayer said. They give constructive criticism and when we’re struggling, they help us get over our struggles and get better. This helps us get ready for the postseason and help us go to return to states.”