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THE MESA PRESS Volume 66, Issue 5

The independent student publication of San Diego Mesa College

OCTOBER 21, 2021

President Luster announces her retirement

By Jennifer Aguilar NEWS EDITOR


America's obsession with missing white women Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue


Mesa'a APIA community holds "Careering While Asian" Panel Photo Credit: Asia Ryan/The Mesa Press


College Student Athlete, unexpectedly dies Photo Credit: Charles Price's Facebook page


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r. Pamela Luster announced that she will retire from her presidency at San Diego Mesa College, becoming effective June 30, 2022. Luster was elected to be San Diego Mesa College’s president in 2011. Since then, she has had progressive initiatives such as “building the SD Mesa Foundation, The HIM Baccalaureate Program, SD Promise, The Stand Resource Center…to just name a few,” Luster mentioned in her retirement letter. Not only has President Luster incorporated many programs, but there have also been many facilities added within the Mesa College campus such as thr Student Services building. “Prior to her presidency, Luster was the temporary Vice President of Instruction and Vice President of Student Services. Adding to this, she was also the Dean of Academic Services at Las Positas College, in Livermore, CA. Luster has been in the community college system for 40 years. Although, the average term for community college presidents is about three to five years, Luster will be the president of San Diego Mesa College for almost 11 years. “This decision has come after several months of deliberation and discussions with my family,” she said in her announcement. One of her favorite parts of her job is definitely the first week of school, “there is something so joyful and promising about thousands of students deciding that that is how they are going to change their lives,” she said. School and education has a special meaning to Luster, not only because she enjoyed attending school, but because it is that promise of education and that commitment one makes to better their lives. Luster is part of a statewide initiative around food and housing, diversity,

Mesa President Pamela T. Luster has served as President of Mesa College for over a decade. Photo Credit: Mesa Office of Communications equity, and inclusion. Currently, she is part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s task force to address basic needs of higher education students. She will continue to teach at San Diego State University in the doctoral program. She also has an equity chat along with the president of Compton College on Twitter where they “interview people who are out in the world doing work around diversity, basic needs, equity, and inclusion.” You can find this on Twitter by looking up #equitychat. “It’s more of retiring as the president in terms of, I feel as if in the last 11 years, I have done what I could to bring value-add to Mesa and it's time for the next person to come along and take that on and take Mesa where it wants to go next. I will still be around, I am still going to go to athletic events. Retiring is not about me, it is about the legacy that you leave as people cele-

brate your successes… , and I am going to spend this year actively making sure the college is in the best shape that when the next leader comes, they can lead the way where they want to lead,” she says. Once her retirement is effective, Luster wants to write a couple of books about her experience with breast cancer and how baking helped her through that time.“I am a breast cancer survivor and I would like to interview other women who’ve been through breast cancer and include some recipes that I made at that time,” Luster added. She would also enjoy writing some fiction short stories too. The process of finding a new president within the college district is time consuming. It requires a profound search around this time in order to find a president next year, and if a president is not found by next year, then a temporary or interim president will be appointed.

Associated Students welcomes new cabinet members



esa’s Associated Students welcomed in 11 newly elected cabinet members, making this the first time the cabinet has been fully staffed since the beginning of the Fall semester. Elections were held from Sept. 20-24 and the results were announced to the public on Oct. 1. This diverse group of students that comprise the AS, serve as Mesa’s student government, a group of students, elected by the students to represent the students. The results are in and Wencit Quino Hersh has been elected as Mesa’s Associated Students vice president. Hersh is a Filipina mother of one, in her third semester at Mesa completing her certificate in accounting. She served as a senator two times before being elected as VP, and she also serves as a student senate delegate for The Student Senate for California Community Colleges, a nonprofit student organization that allows students of California to have a formal and effective means for participating in the formation of state policies that have or may have a significant impact on students. The vice president’s role in the AS falls under the Executive Council, and their main responsibilities are to execute and administer all

AS business and affairs, and to ensure that legislation of the AS senate is executed accurately and expeditiously. As newly elected VP, one thing Hersh felt strongly about was Mesa beginning to execute the Climate Crisis plan that was included in the 2030 Comprehensive Master Plan. “I am really passionate about climate change and what we can do to alleviate the problem,” she said. “Focusing more on sustainability in terms of food, and also as a student, innovating something we can move forward with in the future.” The AS also welcomed 10 new senators. These representatives are Daniela Castellanos, Elisa Correa, Husnia Ahmadi, Manuela Cerciello Rahbari, Maryam Fazel, Omar Rodriguez Mendoza, Osten Carlton, Phoebe Truong, Sophia Summer Fiorini, and Tara Yousefi Nejad. The role of the senators in AS is to initiate legislation dealing with general activities of the AS, i.e., homecoming, or spirit week. Once their weekly meeting was called to order, the newly elected senators introduced themselves and were able to get their feet wet with what would be coming up in terms of events, and meetings in the near future. Current AS President Natalia Trinh, a second-year neurobiology major, spoke on

Mesa's Associated Students reveal 2021 Fall election results. Photo Credit: Associated Students

what she wanted the new electees to take away from their AS experiences. “I want them to push themselves… in a way that they’re content with…to be happy with the work that they put in,” she said. “I want them to see that anything is possible, no matter what major you’re from, what background you come from, anyone can do anything.” She goes on to explain why they changed the name from Associated Student Government to simply, Associated Students. “We call it AS instead of ASG because the ‘G’ stands for government, but we wanted to make it more like a community feel.”


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The Mesa Press

NCAA puts an end to archaic amateurism policy

By Victor Moore STAFF EDITOR


he National Collegiate Athletic Association division one Board of Directors approved an interim name, image and likeness (NIL) policy. This new policy will allow NCAA D1, D2 and D3 student-athletes to be compensated for their NIL as of July 1, 2021. Collegiate student athletes will be able to earn money to assist with everyday living expenses by simply monetizing their social media accounts, signing autographs and teaching sport camps. For many years student athletes were restricted from being compensated due to archaic regulations set by the NCAA amateurism rules. The NCAA defines amateurism as practicing an activity, especially a sport, on an unpaid rather than a professional basis. This went on for more than a century In 2009, former All-American basketball player Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) because he

had not consented to the use of his likeness in an Electronic Arts produced video game. According to the LexisNexis law school brief, “O’Bannon claimed that the NCAA’s amateurism rules that prevented student athletes from being compensated for the use of their NILs, were illegal based on the restraint of trade under Section 1of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C.’’ In the 2016-2017 school year, the NCAA brought in $1 billion of revenue with none of it touching any of the student athletes’ hands. If any student athlete was found to be receiving any type of extra funds, there were severe penalties to be paid from restitution, to ineligibility for upcoming games and in some cases teams could be stripped of NCAA titles that had been won during the time of the violations. It’s hard to understand the amateurism rule or why student athletes were not allowed to earn money off of their own N.I.L. The NCAA has always been such a great institution with almost unlimited resources. They should have had some slight adjustments in the amateurism rule that al-

NCAA rules in favor of student-athletes in NIL ruling. Maddie Meyer/GettyImages/TNS lowed student athletes to earn something or get a percentage of the revenue that the team brought in. This would not only be fair, but it would cut down on some of the illegal earnings that have plagued the NCAA during the hundred plus years of amateurism. With the NIL ruling, some critics of the rule felt that student athletes that can command six to seven figures from their NIL will put profit over winning and jeopardize the integrity of the game, like the small schools that

America’s obsession with missing white women



he term “missing white woman syndrome” was a term coined by renowned journalist Gwen Ifill in 2004, in reference to the media’s obsessive and extensive coverage of missing white women and girls in America. 22-year-old Gabriella “Gabby” Petito recently made headlines after taking a road trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie and seemingly disappearing off the map. Across the nation, news channels have kept their viewers updated on every single new detail about the case. Conspiracy theorists, internet sleuths, and everyday folk have spent hours and hours trying to piece together this mystery, but to no avail. In the search for Petito her mother and father were featured on a two-part series on “Dr. Phil”, a daily talk show that racks up more than 2.9 million views every day. “America’s Most Wanted” covered the case. CNN, The New York Times, Fox News and hundreds of other publications small and large, have covered this case as well. There are hundreds of YouTube videos on Petito’s disappearance. Nancy Grace, host of Fox News, gave her opinion on what would be found during Petito’s autopsy. Jim Clemente, a retired FBI profiler weighed in on the situation and even T.V. personality Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman, has joined the search for answers in Petito’s disappearance. To truly understand why “MWWS” exists, it’s extremely important to mention that at some point Americans must feel comfortable enough to acknowledge the true unfortunate history and current influence that white supremacy has in this country. White supremacy is not just the obvious, it’s not only the Ku Klux Klan in their masks and flags, but it’s also the microaggressions upheld by all races within America as well. Meaning, the way in which people have seemingly ignored the blatant misrepresentation and lack of inclusivity of missing Black, Indigenous, and People of color (BIPOC) in the media. White supremacy affects the psyche of anyone living within these borders, and it rears itself in the way media is distributed to its consumers. It may be uncomfortable to think that Petito’s case received so much media coverage, attention, and legal resources, not because of how wonderful of a person she may have been, but simply because she fits society’s definition of beauty. She was a pretty, slim, blonde hair,

schedule Alabama every year to get that nice million dollar plus check that think they really have a chance to win. As with many large entities there seems to be some hypocrisy in how things are run but this NIL ruling will cut down on some of the old illegal activity. Most importantly, this will provide studentathletes with a channel to earn honest revenue that could assist their families, and give them a sense of independence which all starving students would absolutely love.

The Mesa Press Founded in 1966 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jared Knobloch

NEWS EDITOR Jennifer Aguilar





Missing and murdered Indigenous women’s march in Minnesota. Photo Credit:Fibonacci Blue blue-eyed, white woman, and America loves that. This is what drives “MWWS”. Consider how many white women have gone missing in the last two decades and have become household names. Natalee Holloway, Laci Peterson, Kristin Smart, Shanann Watts, Madeleine McCann, the list goes on. All of them have that one important thing in common that makes them newsworthy. The case of Gabby Petito is a tragic one, and no one should ever deny that, but this article isn’t actually about her. Her case has garnered plenty of attention in the media, this article is about the clear disparity in what news is deemed important in America. According to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), in 2020 there were north of 400,000 missing people reported to the FBI. In 2018, the NCIC listed 424,066 children missing. Although black children only comprise 14% of all children in America, 37% of those missing children were black. These numbers are staggering. Why are we not seeing these children’s faces plastered all over the news? CNN, The New York Times, why aren’t they covering these missing children’s cases as intensely? Wyoming, known for its beautiful land and national parks, will now be plagued by the fact that Petito’s remains were found there. But Petito’s case has shed new light on the quiet epidemic that is taking over the ironically named “Equality State”. According to the “Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Report” published in January 2021 by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center at the University

of Wyoming, between 2011 and September 2020, there have been 710 Indigenous people reported missing. 57% of them were women. This report goes on to break down the disparities in the ways the media covered the missing person cases between white and Indigenous people. A missing Indigenous person was more likely to have negative character framing in their article, articles were only written after they were found dead, and while the person was actively missing, no article was written. With a missing white person, articles were written while they were missing, and articles were also written when they were found safe. There have been many BIPOC missing person cases that have flown under the radar for years. Petito’s disappearance has served as a catalyst in recognizing that missing BIPOC cases are being overlooked and under-investigated. Parents of missing BIPOC have sat through this media coverage hoping, praying, and wondering why their child hasn’t received the amount of support and media attention as Petito did. ABC News addressed the “MWWS” concept in a September 2021 article and interviewed Paula Cosey Hill, a black woman whose 16-year-old daughter Shemika Cosey disappeared in 2008, near her home in St. Louis, Missouri. “Everybody who is missing loved ones is saying, ‘Why wasn’t my case done that like?’” said Hill. “It’s very hard because it takes you back to when your child went missing… But as you can see, they can get enough manpower to do it,” she said. “They just choose which cases they want to do.”


STAFF MEMBERS Oshae Hawkins, Julian Hernandez, Nina Ortega, Christopher Chavez, Victor Moore

Contact 7250 Mesa College Drive San Diego, CA 92111 Phone: 619-388-2630 Fax: 619-388-2835 This publication is produced as a learning experience for aspiring journalists. All materials, including the opinions expressed herein, are the sole responsibility of the authors and should not be interpreted to be those of the San Diego Community College District. To submit a letter to the editor, please include your name (unsigned letters or letters signed with aliases will not be printed), age, major/profession, college attending (if not Mesa) and email address.


The Mesa Press

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APIA holds Careering While Asian Panel



esa College’s Kapwa Learning Community, Asian Pacific Islander American Advisory Committee, and the Work-Based Learning department held the “Careering While Asian Panel” on Monday, Sep 27, a forum allowing for Asian Pacific Islander Americans and people of color to advocate for their community, give tips on how they remain their most authentic selves and the obstacles they’ve experienced to get where they are today. The panel members consisted of three Filipino Americans, Candice Custodio-Tan a.k.a. DJ Kuttin Kandi, Ferchil Ramos, and Rizzhel Javier. All speakers gave listeners a look into their lives and their personal experiences through different lenses. The “Careering While Asian” forum was a space for Asian-Americans and people of color to share their experiences of failure, success, mistakes, and ancestral influences that got them to the position they’re in today. The moderator for this event was Andrew Arevalo, a Filipino American sociology student, Kapwa liaison, and a member of the Asian Pacific Diversity Club at Mesa. Arevalo skillfully guided the speakers through multiple topics such as how to deal with racism and sexism in the workplace, where they’ve received the most support over the years, and how they continue to stay motivated through ups and downs. When asked who or what motivated her to go down the path of community

work, Javier, an artist and Managing Director at The AjA Project, explained that her biggest influence was having very few teachers of color throughout her college experience. Having attended college in Northern California, she said she felt “foreign” and even attended classes in ethnic studies where none of her classmates were people of color. She believed that becoming a representative and being the face she never saw, would benefit the students who came after her so they wouldn’t have to have the same experience she did. “My lived experiences in college, I wanted to make sure, I wanted to see more people of color there,” she said. “So I need to be one, and commit to that if that’s something that I want to see myself.” The lens of Hip-Hop led Custodio-Tan to become an organizer within her community. Custodio-Tan, an original New Yorker and Co-Founder/Executive Director of the Asian Solidarity Collective, “Hip-Hop feminism taught me how to be intersectional, and how to be within the gray areas and to live within the contradictions,” she said. “How I approach life in general, how I work with folks, how I believe in my community…that’s what the Hip-Hop cypher teaches you…it taught me how to be a cypher with community and bring things to full circle.” A common theme among the speakers was how they learned to cultivate and maintain their authenticity. Ramos, the Social Media Manager at PolicyLink, spoke about how he values authenticity, and how important it is to stay true to himself. “Whenever I’m in a space even if it’s

workwise, if I don’t feel like I can be me, It just feels gross… You’re not happy doing that “thing” anymore, because you can’t express yourself fully, you can’t be accepted fully, you’re othered from the start almost,” he said. “If I feel like I can’t be authentic, I already feel like that’s not the right space for me.” He also acknowledged his privilege as a cisgender able-bodied male, and it leads him to strive for more equity and fairness for everyone. Custodio-Tan gave insight into her struggles with her mental and physical health, and the support she received from her mother and community that helped her to keep pushing forward. In 2012, Custodio-Tan went through major heart surgery and her community came together in droves. When Colorlines, a daily news site, wrote an article about her condition, this tapped into her vulnerabilities, she didn’t want her business out there for the world to see. But after some reflection, she realized she was tired of “performing” and being perfect all the time. “I’m taking off the mask, I’m done with that,” she said. “It was the community that got me there, and it was the community that looked out for me.” As a first-generation college student, Javier acknowledged her transformation from being a hesitant student who was just “happy to be there,” to becoming a woman who recognized her voice and recognized her right to be in the spaces she worked hard to be in. When asked how she navigates through racism, sexism, and discrimination in the workplace, she said she decided to flip the script when she was in

college and began to change her thought process. She never wanted to feel like she couldn’t speak up. “I need to make sure I’m getting the education that I hope for and if I’m not that I’m at least getting to say the things that I want to say in this space where I’m paying for this privilege to be here,” she said. “If there’s not something feeding me, it’s not doing me justice, I can’t help other people in this space.”

Discrimination against Asians is shown here in this graph, with 63.7% of discrimination is harassment. Photo Credit: TNS

Tips and tricks to prepare for transfer to a 4 year By Nina Ortega STAFF WRITER


he time for applying for transfer to a four-year university is here. From Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, students are on a strict deadline to apply for what comes after a Community College. In the 20192020 school year, 3,100 students transferred to a California State University or the University of California, after being in the San Diego Community College District. Preparing for transfer can get frustrating and overwhelming, but the San Diego Mesa College transfer department is here to help. Mesa’s transfer department ensures that students are prepared to transfer to their respective universities, giving help in areas such as simple transfer talks with an advisor, to financial aid. They make sure that missing deadlines, GPA miscalculations, and filling out applications incorrectly are all avoidable mistakes. It’s important students reach out and use their resources to guarantee a smooth transition from community to a four-year. Staying up to date with all important deadlines is crucial in completing transfer applications. “The process has been overwhelming only because it came up so quickly and I was ill prepared,” says second-year criminal justice major, Julianna Austin. One of Mesa’s main goals is to reassure students during this stressful time, by providing various workshops and events to guide those to successfully transfer. With San Diego State University being the top transfer school choice for San Diego Community College District stu-

The Mesa College transfer center is here to help students with anything they may need while working on transfering to a 4 year university. Photo Credit: Kyle Ayson/The Mesa Press dents, SDSU also provides numerous amounts of helpful resources in guiding through their specific application targeted for transfer students as well as guidance in financial aid when filling out FAFSA and other grants. Nov. 5 from noon to 1:30 p.m. SDSU is hosting an information zoom session for all fall transfers. Students in hopes of transferring are strongly encouraged to join any events that take place during “Transfer Week.” Representatives from CSU’s, UC’s, and private schools are all going to be available to answer questions regarding the school and the transfer process. The Mesa College transfer center has CSU and UC Application open lab assistance Monday, Tuesday,

and Thursday through Saturday throughout the months of October and November. “I’ve met with a counselor and a peer navigator to give me tips on my application and to see what else I need to complete in order to transfer. I don’t wanna mess up because it honestly could ruin everything so it’s probably best if people ask for help and have someone with experience look the application over,” said Austin. Peer navigators are also available virtually from Monday to Thursday from 1-3 p.m. to support, motivate, and answer any questions students may have regarding their education and education planning. This is a different resource students can take advantage of by being able to be assisted through the

process of not only transfers, but guidance is readily available throughout students’ community college experience. It is suggested students meet with a counselor once a semester to go over their education plan. Assistance from a counselor is also important to make sure students are following the TAG program with their major so they can have an even easier and guaranteed transfer process. It’s emphasized that Mesa is here to help anyone be a successful student throughout this transfer process. The events and workshops are designed to help ease the stress during what can be a frustrating experience. Make sure to reach out and take advantage of the resources.


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The Mesa Press

Former Mesa student athlete unexpectedly died By Nina Ortega STAFF WRITER


harles ‘Chucky’ Price, a Mesa College Alumni, died on August 29, 2021, at the age of 23. The details surrounding the tragedy have not been disclosed. Price, more popularly known as Chucky, is survived by his mom, step-dad, brothers, and many friends. Chucky was born in San Diego on July 13, 1998. After graduating from Clairemont High School, Chucky continued his education at San Diego Mesa College. He then transferred to San Jose State University on scholarship and graduated with his bachelor’s degree. Chucky was planning on attending Azusa Pacific University in the fall to continue his education. He went on to compete in the 200 meters, 400 meters, and 400x400 relay events. Best friend and teammate, Januar Ramadhan, says, ‘He was a leader and always lead by example, being a 400-meter runner he always led the workouts. He and I would train almost every day together at Mesa during pre-season before the team was even allowed to start running.” Chucky was a devoted son, friend, and student-athlete. According to Isaiah Harris, his life-long friend, Price was extremely passionate about track. “From tearing his hamstring freshman year in college to

bouncing back and becoming a D1 athlete in one of the hardest sports to receive a scholarship out of a junior college, his hard work and dedication were recognized and inspiring,” Harris said. “Charles Price, Januar Ramadhan, and I worked all summer on our goals. Getting ready for Azusa. We would stay up talking about making it to the USA World Team someday.” “Charles had a plan with a vision and never gave up on any of it. No matter what type of adversity was thrown at him he always stayed consistent and kept his head high,” added Harris. Chucky is remembered for not only his work ethic but his kind smile and heart. He was genuine, had a positive attitude, and was a best friend to many. “Charles was a kind-hearted and gentle soul,” says Ross Milo, a high school friend. This was a frequent comment from people who shared their memories of Price. The family of Price created a GoFundMe to give him a proper burial. According to one of his GoFundMe comments from Shawna James, she wrote, “We will miss that beautiful smile, contagious giggle, and Chucky’s amazing talent. I loved to watch him run… his stride was beautiful.” Our deepest condolences from The Mesa Press to Charles Price’s family, friends, and any other loved one who crossed paths with this young man. He will be missed both on and off the field.

Charles ‘Chucky’ Price, former Mesa student athlete. With a passion for track and field. Photo of Price for San Jose State University. Photo Credit: Charles Price’s Facebook Profile

Women’s volleyball dominating as the season progresses By Jared Knobloch EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


s the fall 2021 season progresses, the San Diego Mesa College Women’s Volleyball team has garnered a record of 11-4, taking down opponents with no sign of slowing down. The Olympians, who have just under 10 games left in the season, made a statement with their 3-1 victory over MiraCosta, giving them win number 12. Head Coach Bobbie Jo Stall has been very impressed with her team after going 9-2 in the month of September, noting “We have a very talented group of ladies that have a lot of potential. When everyone is connecting and working together, we have some very good volleyball being displayed. We scheduled a tough pre-season which ultimately made us better for the long haul.” As the second half of the season continues, Stall wants the team to stay focused. She said one thing they need to focus on is “Consistency, staying healthy and having some fire to push to the end of the season.” During the earlier stretch of the season, Stall noticed that her team was doing extremely well in several areas, saying “We have definitely improved as servers as well as defenders. We are working on establishing trust between players so we can connect and run a smooth offense.” The players themselves are proud of where they have gotten to so far. Sophomore hitter Sophia Jarosz said, “Our season has been pretty good so far. We had a fun preseason and I’m excited to continue playing and continue improving as a team.” Team chemistry has been top notch for the team as well. Jarosz mentioned, “I think our team has learned to play together and we have definitely been improving as the season progresses. Especially from our

The Women’s Volleyball team for the 2021 season. So far, winning over 10 games and looking ready to dominate the playoffs. Photo Credit: Legacy Photography & Media preseason games, everyone has stepped up individually and showed what they are capable of. We’ve had some great moments on the court, but overall our wins have come from playing as a team, having solid serve receives, good defense and making strong offensive plays. Being able to trust one another and having good communication is key.” Jarosz’s teammate, Sophomore blocker Isabelle Bakken has been grateful for the coaching staff this season, and what they have taught her, and the whole team. “Our coaches are so amazing, of course, coaching volleyball and making us better but also teaching us how to be good people and teammates. Without them we wouldn’t

be close to as successful. One thing we always say is ‘hold the rope.’ It means who can you trust to hold the end of a rope you are falling from. We should be able to trust everyone on our team, through all the bad, good, blood, the sweat and tears, at the end of the day we are still there to hold the rope.” Bakken, who won California Community College Women’s Volleyball Association (CCCWVCA) State Player of the Week in early September, has been vital to the squad this season. She said, “Our team has improved so much to get all out wins. We have so much talent on our team but we have known from the beginning our mental toughness will lead us to success.”

“The next step for our team is getting to and winning the state championship. We all want it and we know we have the ability to achieve it. We just have to keep grinding and envisioning that as our end goal,” said Jarosz. As far as the playoffs are concerned, Stall is ready for the action. She said, “When you enter the playoffs, all of the teams that make it are good and can play well. Especially with what we’ve seen this year, anyone can beat anyone. The biggest message, if you want to be special and go the distance, is to stay focused, play with confidence and have more of a desire to win than the teams you play against.”

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