Senior Wrestlers Take Over The Palace

Will Feldkamp claims second while Kyle Burton finishes eighth to lead the Dreads at the state finals in Auburn Hills

By: Tyler Woelfel

Four Dexter wrestlers, all seniors, had great seasons that culminated in the Michigan state finals. Adam Burton wrestled in the 160-lb weight class as he appeared in his first state finals. For his first time wrestling at states, he did well but was unable to place. Wrestling in the 152-lb weight class, his brother Kyle Burton did great, earning a spot on the podium for eighth place in Division 2. Ryan Clements, wrestling at 119 pounds, earned his hundredth win this year, capping off a great high school career. Clements did well at the Palace, but he was unable to place. The fourth wrestler to make it to Auburn Hills was William Feldkamp. Feldkamp is in the 189-lb weight class and was the only wrestler to repeat a regional title to bring him back to the state finals. This year, Feldkamp was trying to cap off an amazing career at Dexter High School by winning the state championship. He had some extra pressure when wrestling that weekend; The Feldkamp family’s wrestling history is arguably the best in Dexter. They have always dominated, and the latest Feldkamp definitely lived up to that tradition throughout his four years in high school. He got off to a hot start at states by pinning two opponents in a row. Heading into the semifinal match, he said he was very nervous. The match went down to the wire after he was able to force an overtime period. He stuck it out and was able to win the match, giving him a chance at a state title. In the finals, he faced last year’s state champion, Warren Lincoln’s Jelani Embree. After a hard-fought match, Feldkamp fell just short, 7-2, finishing second in the state. All four seniors finished off their final season as a Dreadnaught with an accomplishment most people can’t say they have, and for that reason, this year was incredibly successful for the wrestling team as a whole and the individuals involved as well.

Winter athletes, coaches look back on seasons

Ice hockey, wrestling, swim/dive, and men’s and women’s basketball teams are hanging up their uni’s after closing out their seasons.

Hockey

Ice hockey finished the regular season 14-11 and lost to Chelsea 3-2 in its first playoff game to end its playoff run.  The team will lose seniors such as captains Ben Grover, Bryan Tuzinowski and Tristan Rojeck, key components to the squad’s success this season according to Coach Brian Sipotz who sang the team’s praises.

“Heading into the season, we had some very high hopes for this team,” Sipotz said.  We had some great leadership and an excellent crop of new players, so we knew it was going to be a fun year.  We trained hard in the summer and fall and had a great start to the season.”

Seeing the team’s strong potential, Sipotz said he wanted to challenge the boys by finishing out the season with some hard battles.

“After Christmas we had a record of 10-4 and had wins against some very good teams.  Since we knew we were going to have a strong team, we scheduled games against some very good teams late in the season.  We ended the regular season with a record of 14-11, and ultimately lost to Chelsea in a well-played first-round matchup.”

The season highlight for Sipotz was beating Chelsea in the regular season, something Dexter had not done in eight years.

“Overall the team had a good year, although the guys really wanted to play a few more games in the playoffs.”

Wrestling

The wrestling team finished 3-4 overall this year.  It will also be losing seniors like Zeke Breuninger and Jonah Hancock.

“I think it went really well,” Hancock said.  “This year’s seniors were very much the leaders of the group, so there is a lot of maturing that needs to occur before next season if we want to succeed, but the potential is there.  We had a good season.”

After coaching changes between freshman, sophomore and junior years, Hancock said a more permanent coach will benefit the team.

“ We finally have some stability with the coaching because we’ve had a lot of changes in the coaching situation,” he said. “These last two years were the first that we’d had the same coach, so the new stability really helps build a foundation of the program, and we’ll see what the boys can do next year.”

Men’s swim and dive

Men’s swim/dive placed second in the state, ending the regular season 7-4.  Senior Andrew Watson said he was pleased with the result.  In the past four years, the team has finished fourth, first, third and second in the state, respectively, so Watson said he couldn’t complain.  He also said he is optimistic about the future of the team.

“There were only two seniors and four juniors who went to states this year, so the majority of the states team was underclassmen,” Watson said. “Because it was a young team, I think next year they’ll be great.  The next two years are going to be really powerful for the swim team.  We still ended up doing really well this season; we finished second in the state which was kind of a surprise.  We didn’t think that was going to happen.”

  Head swim coach Michael McHugh said he was nicely surprised by the team’s performance after the loss of key athletes at the end of last year.

“The team performed very well this year,” McHugh said. “I was a little worried about what we would be capable of this year as we lost all of our state team members from our 2012 State Championship team and all of our All-State performers from a year ago.  We were a very young team this year with only two seniors qualifying for the state meet and to finish 2nd in the state is a testament to how talented these guys are.”

He said he is hopeful for the future as well.

“It’s early to think about goals for next year, but I would say to maintain the high level program that we have is always a goal,” McHugh said. “I think we will be a better team next year, a little bit deeper and more experienced which should really help us perform even better.”

Men’s basketball

Men’s basketball racked up a 14-7 (10-6 in the SEC) season, the team’s best since they finished 13-7 in 2010.  However, the team lost in the first game of districts to the Pinckney Pirates in a one-point game, 41-42.

Senior captain Derek Seidl expressed his remorse over the loss.

“We really shouldn’t have lost,” Seidl said. “We were up the whole game, and we blew it at the end. They were below .500 on the year.”

The Dreadnaughts were up 10 at halftime after leading the whole first half.  But the lead slipped away.

Senior London Truman said the season went well but came to an abrupt end.

“We started off really well, undefeated 10 games straight,” he said. “Then we lost to Ypsi.  After that we knew we would have to work a lot harder to beat good teams. Toward the end of the season, we knew playoffs were starting soon, so we started working extra hard because we knew we’d have to compete with some of the top teams in the state.  And unfortunately we came up with a loss in the first district game. We got up early, and we kinda just coasted instead of playing hard and putting the game away, and they came back and got some good plays.  But next year I’m expecting good things from them. I think they’re going to have a really good season.

However, with the team signing new coach Tim Fortescue, replacing Randy Swoverland, just weeks before the season opened, Truman said the team performed to the best of its abilities during the difficult transition.

Next year the team is losing six seniors including Seidl, the team’s leading scorer. However, there are five players who got playing time that will be coming back, three of whom started at times.

Women’s basketball

Women’s basketball coach Mike Bavineau said he was satisfied with the girls’ 12-10 season after having lost five seniors last year.  The team finished 10-6 in the SECs, taking second place.

“I thought that we had a pretty successful season considering we just came off a year when we went to the final four and graduated five seniors, lost a junior that didn’t come back out, so basically lost six players off of a team that was very successful,” Bavineau said. “We had to replace them with sophomores, so I think overall we did a pretty good job of becoming a better basketball team.  Obviously we would have liked certain outcomes to be different, but that didn’t happen.  But as a team, they all worked hard. They did what they could every day to become better, and that’s all one can ask for when coaching a team.”

Bavineau said the team should increase in strength in the upcoming seasons, provided that the girls stay on and keep at it.

“We hope that we can keep those juniors and sophomores that played on the team and will come back and play,” he said. “Obviously the more experience you have playing a varsity sport the better you get.  So we hope we can continue to grow and progress, but that’ll all depend on how hard we work in the off season.”