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Mercy claims swim title as Harrison-Farmington places third at finals

FARMINGTON HILLS — There is an expectation, fairly or unfairly, that needs to be upheld.

In 2017, the Farmington Hills Mercy swim team certainly lived up to it.

The Division 1 state swimming and diving state finals were held Nov. 17-18 at Oakland University, and once again, the Marlins asserted themselves as the top team in the state.

“It’s very cool,” second-year coach Mike Venos said. “This was the culmination of a very interesting season for us. But you have to take a lot of pride in this.”

With a total of 37 teams scoring in the two-day final, the Marlins finished with a score of 277.

Saline High was next-best with 248, and Harrison-Farmington came in third with 192.

10 highlights from Michigan swimming and diving championships

Depth wins out for Farmington Hills Mercy

Farmington Hills Mercy didn’t win a single event at the Division 1 meet, but won its first state title since 2013 and eighth overall thanks to its depth. The Marlins had two runner-up finishes and had swimmers finish in the top-10 in 10 of the 12 events.

A girls title for Venos

Mike Venos, the longtime boys coach at Brother Rice who has led the Warriors to the last four state titles in Division 1 and six overall, won his first state title with a girls team.

He is in his second year as Mercy's coach.

“Boys can be kind of boring,” Venos said. “They just want to get in and train. With the girls, it’s the whole social aspect."

Mercy weathers the storm to get past Anchor Bay in quarterfinals

Farmington Hills Mercy concludes its pregame ritual just before the start of a Class A quarterfinal against New Baltmore Anchor Bay on Tuesday.

WEST BLOOMFIELD >> With a four-game victory Tuesday, Farmington Hills Mercy advanced to the Class A semifinals in Battle Creek for the first time since 2010, getting over the hump with a quarterfinals win against New Baltimore Anchor Bay, 25-17, 21-25, 26-24, 25-19.

RELATED: Photo gallery from Mercy vs. Anchor Bay

The Marlins narrowly captured the pivotal third-set after the teams had split the first two. Down 23-22, Mercy sophomore Jess Mruzik recorded three emphatic kills in a row to regain the lead and set up Lauren Hunter for the final point.

Swim & Dive CHSL 2017 Champs

Congratulations to Marlin Swim & Dive Team for capturing the 2017 Catholic High School League Championship!

Special shout-out swim wins:

200 Medley Relay champs with a time of 1:48.83

200 free champ is Minnich with a time of 1:51.62

200 IM champ is Goit from with a time of 2:09.76

Dive champ is McCliment

100 Free champ is Connolly with a time of 52.76

Mercy stops Stevenson in Class A regional final

With heavy hitters all over the place, Farmington Hills Mercy put the hammer down against Livonia Stevenson in Thursday’s Class A regional girls volleyball final.

The Marlins rolled to a 25-9 win in the opening set and continued their relentless attack in Game 2, prevailing 25-10 despite a nice string of serves by Spartans sophomore Erin Pietruszka.

In the third set, Mercy faced some trials and tribulations — with Pietruszka again serving up a couple aces to get the Spartans out to a short-lived 3-0 lead — before closing things out with a 25-18 win.

Going up for the clinching block were senior Lauren Hunter and freshman Charli Atiemo, triggering a happy celebration on the court at Farmington High School.

Mercy, Stevenson set for regional final

With a lethal and varied attack that rarely takes a break, Farmington Hills Mercy blew past Grosse Pointe South in Tuesday’s Class A volleyball regional semifinal at Farmington High School.

The Catholic League champion Marlins might be sneaking a peek at what nemesis Bloomfield Hills Marian might be doing during the state tournament — the teams could meet in a semifinal on Nov. 16 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.

Veteran coach Loretta Vogel would like to stop what she said is a recent trend of opponents going on to the championship after knocking her team out of the tournament. That happened last year when Novi ousted Mercy and then won it all.

Parental guidance: Mom's fave inspires Mercy actor

Julia Twigg grew up hearing about and watching, "Anne of Green Gables," the 1908 novel (later play) by Lucy Maud Montgomery, because her mother loved the story.

So when the Mercy High School senior saw the school's drama program was producing "Anne" for its fall show, she did something she'd never done in her high school drama career: Tried for (and got) a speaking part.

And not just any speaking part; she's playing Anne.

"'Anne of Green Gables' has always been my mother's favorite story," said Twigg, a transfer student from the International Academy. "I figured I'd go out of my senior year with a bang and I managed to get the lead. It still blows my mind."

Mercy reclaims Catholic League volleyball crown

Farmington Hills Mercy's volleyball team again reigns supreme in the Catholic League.

The Marlins defeated arch rival Bloomfield Hills Marian to capture their first Catholic League tournament title in six years Monday night at Madonna University. Mercy needed four games -- two of which went overtime -- to get past the Mustangs, 25-19, 27-25, 29-31, 25-13.

Mercy's last two Catholic League titles -- in 2011 and 2010 -- were also against Marian. The Marlins now own eight tournament crowns in program history.

Veteran head coach Loretta Vogel said it is a very satisfying feeling to have regained the Catholic League title.

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