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November 26, 2013

Mercy returns to first place on podium at states

Local swimmers, divers fare well at finals

By Jon Malavolti
C & G Sports Writer

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Mercy returns to first place on podium at states
Farmington Hills Mercy’s swim team returned to the top of the podium after racking up 271 points in the Division 1 state finals. Pictured is Mercy’s Maddy Loniewski, who was part of the 200-yard freestyle relay championship team.

ROCHESTER — Farmington Hills Mercy reclaimed its throne at the MHSAA Division 1 girls swimming and diving state finals Nov. 23 at Oakland University.

Mercy, which won five straight state titles from 2007-11 before finishing in second place last year, scored 271 points at this year’s finals en route to reclaiming another crown.

“We all worked together on this,” Mercy junior Roxy Griffore said. “We had a really great team, and we worked really hard.”

Marlins coach Shannon Dunworth said the team quietly went about its business all season, working long hours every day, knowing what lay ahead of it, with it all leading up to this moment.

“I think, all year long, we had high expectations, but we don’t talk about it,” he said. “The battle is every day in practice. You don’t do a length without measuring up. Even though this happened so quick, it was three full months of preparing.

The Marlins weren’t the only local team to bring home some hardware from the D-1 meet. The next highest finisher was Lake Orion High, which ended up ninth with 109 points, followed by Sterling Heights Stevenson (19th place, 42 points), Bloomfield Hills (20th, 34), Chippewa Valley (22nd, 26), Utica Eisenhower (24th, 21), Utica Ford (26th, 13) and Troy High (30th, 4).

Local highlights included Mercy’s Griffore, who was the Marlins’ lone individual champion on the day, winning the 50-yard freestyle. The junior also finished in fourth place of the 100 freestyle.

Griffore also swam on two Mercy relay teams that racked up points, the first-place finishing 200 freestyle relay and the second-place 200 medley relay. In the 200 freestyle, she teamed up with juniors Maddy Loniewski and Alaina Skellett, and freshman Kathleen McGee. In the 200 medley, it was senior Elliot Schinella, senior Hannah Knoop, sophomore Ellyse Conn and Griffore. Loniewski, Skellett, McGee and Schinella later teamed up to take fourth in the 400 freestyle relay and wrap up the title for Mercy.

Chippewa Valley senior Sydney Ronald took fourth in the diving competition, while junior teammate Gabby Mace placed 13th.

“I’m extremely proud of them,” Chippewa diving coach Steve Morrow said. “They did well. This was a tough, tough field.

“Sydney, she’s worked so hard,” the coach continued. “It’s going to be sad seeing her go; I’ve never had anyone work so hard for me, in my whole coaching experience.

“Gabby really represented herself well. She opened up a lot of eyes for next year.”

Morrow also noted that Chippewa senior Kristen Kinsey just missed out qualifying for the final round, finishing in 17th in the preliminaries.

“I’m extremely proud of her,” the coach said.

In the swimming portion, Chippewa got points from senior Skyler Muzichuk, who took 13th in the 200 freestyle and 14th in the 100 butterfly.

Bloomfield Hills seniors Ines Charles, Hailey Sambor and Sarah Kilbride teamed up with junior Doey McGowan to place ninth in the 200 medley relay. Charles would also later take third in the 100 backstroke to lead the Blackhawks on the day.

Lake Orion was led by several sixth-place finishes, including junior Bethany Abramczyk (200 and 500 freestyles), and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays (senior Paige Munro, junior Danielle Kudla, sophomore Kirstyn Abbasse and Abramczyk).

Stevenson was led by junior Rebecca Arakelian (12th in the 200 IM and ninth in the 500 freestyle) and sophomore Rachel Arceri (12th in the 500 freestyle and 14th in the 200 freestyle), and the relay teams of junior Brenna Erickson, Arceri, junior Merrill Froney and Arakelian (11th place in the 200 freestyle relay and 13th in the 400 freestyle relay).

Eisenhower was led by freshman Andrea Bugariu, who took seventh in the diving competition, and sophomore Amanda Hudson, who was 10th in the 100 backstroke.

Ford II found its points from senior Emily Frederick, who took 10th in the 500 freestyle and ­11th in the 200 freestyle.

Troy scored thanks to the 15th-place finishing 200 freestyle relay team of sophomores Michelle Wang, Rosanna Li, Libby Engle and senior Grace LaBelle.

For complete results, visit www.MHSAA.com.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jon Malavolti at jmalavolti@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040. Twitter Follow Jon on Twitter.