Mercy hoops has chance to be a contender, in the league and beyond

FARMINGTON HILLS — A year ago, the Port Huron Northern girls basketball team made it to the Class A quarterfinals.

This year, the squad brought back four starters and is as dangerous as ever.

On Dec. 3, the Farmington Hills Mercy squad was tied with the Huskies in the fourth quarter before eventually falling.

There may be no moral victories for Gary Morris and his Marlins, but there’s plenty to take from an effort like that.

“We’re very pleased with this team and how things are going so far,” Morris said a day after his Mercy squad fell to Northern 47-43 at Calihan Hall. “This is a group that works very hard in practice, and in these first few games, really competes.”

Mercy looks for another successful hardcourt season

There's no doubting the court success Farmington Mercy has enjoyed under veteran head coach Gary Morris.

Mercy has registered 12 consecutive winning basketball seasons. The Marlins have won six district titles, including four straight, since 2009. They've been to the regional championship game six times during that span, making a trip to the state semifinal in 2014. Mercy owns three Catholic League crowns since 2011.

Morris, in his 13th season at Mercy, believes the Marlins are fully capable of sustaining that success as the 2016-17 campaign gets underway.

Students raise Empowerment Plan awareness

A group of students decided that they wanted to make a difference this past summer and started a project to help homeless people in Detroit. The group consisted of four students: Caitlin Parsons and Supreet  Nirman, who attend Mercy High School in Farmington Hills; and Dylan Parsons and Zachary Peurach who attend Detroit Catholic Central High School in Novi.

The students have been involved in other community service programs before and often participated in programs where they would volunteer at homeless shelters or distribute food to the homeless through St. Aloysius in downtown Detroit.

Mercy's Minnich Races Toward Greatness

FARMINGTON HILLS – Maybe it was fate that brought Katie Minnich and Farmington Hills Mercy swim coach Mike Venos together this season.

Unbeknownst to Minnich, Venos had known Minnich a decade before she became one of the state’s top swimmers.

Minnich, a junior, is an emerging swimming superstar in a state that has produced such nationally renowned athletes as Olympian Allison Schmidt of Canton and, more recently, Waterford’s Maddie Wright, who now competes for the University of Southern California and was a semifinalist at the 2016 Olympic trials.

Farmington Hills Mercy sweeps Harrison, claims district title

FARMINGTON – Freshman Jessica Mruzik had 16 kills and seven aces to lead Farmington Hills Mercy to a sweep of crosstown rival Harrison in the District 21 volleyball championship on Friday.

Mercy (42-9 overall) prevailed 25-16, 25-15 and 25-22 in the hard-fought match. Marlins head coach Loretta Vogel knew her team was ready but that Harrison wouldn’t give up.

“They are pretty disciplined,” Vogel said. “There were a couple areas where I thought we let Harrison catch up with us. In the end service matters, passing matters. Sometimes with a team like Harrison the ball comes back differently. Somewhat unorthodox at times. And we need to watch what they are doing.”

Harrison held a seven-point lead in the third game, 22-15, but couldn’t hold on.

Mercy volleyball advances to district final with sweep of West Bloomfield

FARMINGTON — She called them a very good team, a “great team,” to be exact.

Dana Gray’s assessment of the Farmington Hills Mercy volleyball squad proved to be pretty accurate Wednesday night as the Marlins ousted her West Bloomfield High group in straight sets from a Class A district semifinal at Farmington High.

“We were excited to get into districts and get a fresh start,” Gray said. Her squad beat North Farmington Monday in an opener. “We played well the other night, but knew we’d have our hands full tonight. This was a ranked team that was very good. But our girls were confident, and we got better as the match went on.”

“I thought, for us tonight, serving and passing was real big,” Mercy coach Loretta Vogel said. “We were successful where we needed to.”

Charlie Brown and Gang Come to Mercy

Benjamin Hawn said he watched the Mercy High School actors on stage last year, when he was in the orchestra pit for the school's production of "Sound of Music."

It looked like they were having such a good time, it occurred to Hawn that he, too, might enjoy acting.

So, he gave it a shot. And now this self-described "kind of awkward" actor is leading Mercy's fall production, playing the title role in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."

And he was right about the fun.

"When I was in the pit, I saw everyone was having so much fun, and I wanted to give it a try," said Hawn, now a senior at Redford Union High School. "Everyone tells me I'm perfect for (Charlie Brown). Everyone here is so nice, and so great. It's been a blast."

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.