Mercy girls qualify for state golf final

The Farmington Hills Mercy golf team is making big strides late in the season and is planning for a peak performance next week in the Division 1 state tournament.

The Marlins and Livonia Stevenson tied for first place Wednesday in the regional event at Dearborn Country Club with four-player totals of 328.

The Spartans were awarded the team title, however, based on a fifth-person tiebreaker. Stevenson had a 91 and Mercy a 98.

"They beat us at Fox Hills, and they beat us at Glen Oaks. We tied them this time," Mercy coach Vicky Kowalski said. "We're making progress; we've closed the gap. Hopefully, next week we can get ahead of them."

The state meet will be played Oct. 14-15 at Forest Akers East on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

New year, new coach, same results for Mercy at Oakland swim event

LAKE ORION — In what serves as annual preparation for the state finals, some of the best girls swimming and diving teams came together Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at Lake Orion High for the Oakland Country Championships.

And despite arriving with a new coach, it was the same old result for the Farmington Hills Mercy squad, which took home the top spot in the event for the 12th year in a row.

“It was a pretty big meet for the girls, but especially the new staff,” said coach Mike Venos. Venos took over this year for Shannon Dunworth, who retired after last season. “Traditionally, we’ve always swam well here, but it was one of those things where we really wanted them to do well and keep that tradition going.”

Mercy took home first with a team score of 376.

Marlins notch big win over No. 4 Irish

Lauren Hunter and Jessica Mruzik are the leading hitters on the Mercy High School varsity volleyball team, but they're doing double duty out of necessity these days.

With veteran setter Liz Susitko sidelined with an injury, they're also sharing that role and setting the ball for each other and the team's other hitters.

The makeshift system worked well Wednesday night and helped the host Marlins earn a four-set victory over state-ranked Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard, 25-21, 25-19, 19-25, 25-14.

Mercy pulls upset to claim golf title

After being denied a championship celebration a year ago, Farmington Hills Mercy played the role of spoiler and had it this year in the Catholic League girls golf tournament.

The Marlins crushed pre-meet favorite Macomb Lutheran North's hopes for a victory by winning the team title Monday at Edgewood Country Club in Commerce Township.

"Last year, we were the favorite going in, and Ladywood snuck up and beat us," Mercy coach Vicky Kowalski said. "This year, Lutheran North was the favorite, and we snuck up and beat them.

"I was talking with Lutheran North coach Lori Gill, and she said, 'I guess it's not a good idea to be a favorite.' Our girls played really well today."

Marlins win 12th straight county meet

Like the leaves changing colors every autumn, another Michigan fall tradition is a Farmington Hills Mercy victory in the annual Oakland County girls swimming and diving meet.

The Marlins won their 12th consecutive championship Saturday at Lake Orion High School, outscoring Catholic League rival Bloomfield Hills Marian to win this year's title, 376-289.

They managed to perform very well despite being in mid-season form and not rested for the meet, according to first-year head coach Mike Venos.

"It was an important meet for the coaching staff because it was our first championship meet with these girls," he said. "We have been telling them all year they were capable of swimming fast when they were tired, and they were very, very tired.

Farmington Hills Mercy notches 12th straight Oakland County title WITH PHOTO GALLERY

LAKE ORION - Farmington Hills Mercy’s Allie Lobbia walked out of Lake Orion High Saturday with a trophy. Was it swiped? Of course not.

The Marlins earned this trophy after capturing their 12th straight Oakland County Swimming and Diving championship.

As for Lobbia, who walked out of the school with the trophy with nary a team member in sight, there was an explanation. “I’m one of the team captains,” smiled Lobbia, who by executive privilege of sorts, was allowed possession of the prize.

Ultimately, it will probably end up in the school trophy case where the Marlins continue to stockpile county championships.

No. 1 Marlins hope to finish where they start

Farmington Hills Mercy begins the 2016 season as the state's No. 1-ranked team in Division 1 girls high school swimming and diving. That's nothing new for either the Marlins or new coach Mike Venos, who also coaches the Birmingham Brother Rice boys team.

The Marlins have won eight state championships — the last six under former coach Shannon Dunworth. Venos has guided the Warriors to four state titles, including the last three in Division 1. Defending state champion Ann Arbor Skyline and runner-up Saline are ranked second and third behind Mercy, which finished third in last year's state meet.

Farmington Mercy will again be tough to beat

With new coach Mike Venos taking over for recently retired Shannon Dunworth, Farmington Hills Mercy’s girls swimming team will have a new look this season. But the Marlins will still be formidable. With 11 straight Oakland County titles and a third-place finish at last year’s D1 state meet, Mercy’s resume is intimidating. To be sure, it will take a mighty effort from area teams to topple the Marlins, but a host of teams will try.