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Chelsea’s Joey Mangner Outstanding Swimmer

Chelsea’s standout senior Joey Mangner has capped a career that’s seen him win two MHSAA championship. s Mangner swam the fastest 50-yard freestyle time in Michigan this winter (20.78 seconds) to win the race at Saturday’s Southeastern Conference White championship meet and was part of three more victories and four school records total to earn the Michigan Army National Guard’s “Performance of the Week.”

Mangner also won the 100 freestyle (46.50) and swam on winning 200 medley (1:35.59) and 400 freestyle (3:12.10) relays as Chelsea finished second to Dexter, the reigning MHSAA champion in Lower Peninsula Division 2. Chelsea is ranked No. 3 in LPD3 and finished third last season, and Mangner has played a significant part in helping the program rise over his four seasons. He’s an eight-time conference champion and as a freshman helped the Bulldogs to their first league title since 1995. He’s an 11-time all-stater, with individual titles in the 50 as a sophomore and as anchor of the medley relay last season. He’s also earned All-America status in both of those events and is part of five Chelsea pool records in addition to the four school bests.

 

“Joey is an extremely gifted young man,” Chelsea Head Coach Dave Jolly said. ” He has the ability to do some of the most amazing things in the water. What is even more special is how humble he has stayed throughout all his acclaim. He is all about his team and watching them all be successful. It has been a true honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to work with him over these past four years.”

“Out biggest rival was Dexter, in conference at least, and we knew they had a lot more depth than us, a lot more people, and we knew it would be hard to compete team-wise and scoring wise,” Mangner said of the league meet. “Going especially into my senior year, with all the other seniors, we wanted to do the best we could. It’s probably one of my favorite meets. At the state meet level, it’s more about being super serious, super on. This (league meet), being at home, knowing the teams close to us, it’s more of a fun meet, for me at least. I was trying to have as much fun as I could have with it and finish off the league as best I could.”

“When I think about last year, there was a lot of pressure on me,” Mangner stated. “I had won the 50 as a sophomore, and coming back my junior year as the defending champ, I had all the pressure. Going into this year, I can’t do anything that isn’t better than last year, and that takes a little weight off my shoulders.”

“It just shows if you just try hard, try your best at something, you can do whatever you want to achieve,” Mangner said on the Chelsea swim team rise in performance. “In the offseason, I didn’t swim as much as other guys did – I still practiced, but I didn’t go to every single meet – so it’s just exciting to be one of the better swimmers to come out of Chelsea.”

“I did water polo all four years as well, and I tried track my sophomore year but I didn’t like that too much, Mangner  stated discussing his Chelsea sports career. “But I like to play pretty much any sport. If basketball season wasn’t the same as swim season, I definitely would’ve given basketball a try, and I also think baseball is fun.”

“It definitely would be fun to win the medley again,” Mangner said discussing his dream finals finish. “Coming back from last year, I’d hopefully love to be the champion in the 50 free. I’m looking at the 100 (free) more so for getting the varsity record; I’m not too worried what place I get in the 100. One of our relays, the 200 or 400 free, we’re going to stack on them and go for a state (LP Division 3) record. For the 50 I’ve tied the D3 record so I would love to get that.”

Mangner intends to swim collegiately next season and likely will choose between Oakland University and University at Buffalo, with a course of study to be determined.

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Chelsea Water Polo Upsets Grand Blanc In Overtime

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Chelsea goalkeeper Catherine Wellman makes a big save for the Lady Bulldogs

The first thing you notice about the Chelsea women’s water polo team is their size or lack of it. Not the height as 6 foot 2-inch netminder Catherine Wellman towers over most people, but the size of the number of players on the team. There are only 10 girls on the team which limits substitutions since 7 girls are in the water all at once. The team is so small that the varsity team is actually the junior varsity team also!

But although small in players Coach Gayle Hurn’s Lady Bulldogs are big on heart and teamwork. And going up against a much bigger and experienced Grand Blanc team was going to be very tough. But it was senior night and the Lady Bulldogs were going to try to honor their 3 seniors with a victory.

The visiting Bobcats struck first when Izzy Curtiss snuck one past Wellman. But in the second quarter, the Bulldogs roared back with a big goal by Sophomore Melissa Jolly. The Bobcats then dominated the 2nd with goals by Miranda Gutierrez and Curtiss taking a 3-1 lead into the half.

After Hurn’s strategy was laid out to the ladies for the second half play resumed and the Coaches plan worked as Senior Meryl McDonnel faked the Bobcat netminder out and blasted the ball into an empty net. That was the beginning as Chelsea exploded for 2 more goals, by Senior Captain Emma Adkins and McDonnel again to take a 4-3 lead in the third. But the Bobcats weren’t giving up and retaliated with 3 quick goals of their own. After a Coach Hurn timeout to settle the girls down, the Bulldogs hit the water again trailing by 2. The Bobcats had several great chances but Wellman made many outstanding save and just got better as the game went on, keeping her team close enough for a comeback.

With time being of the essence, Chelsea took advantage of some great passing and was able to get Jolly open for her second goal of the night. Trailing by 1 things were starting to look bleak as the Bulldogs were looking for their 4th victory of the season. After another Coach Hurn timeout, Chelsea used whatever she told the ladies, and used it well, because the play was executed perfectly by the team as Adkins scored the tying goal sending the game into overtime.

In overtime, the Lady Bulldogs got the ball and moved it right away to set up  Jolly’s third goal of the night for the lead. The Bobcats tried many different things including using lots of substitutions to take advantage of the tired Bulldogs but they weren’t having it as Sophomore Serena Adams put the icing on the cake with a beautiful goal to give the Bulldogs a hard-fought and much deserved 8-6 victory.

AS the girls celebrated and congratulated the Bobcats on a great challenge former EMU Coach Hurn was very ecstatic. “These girls played great, I’m so proud of them,” she stated. “In my time here we have never beaten Grand Blanc. They’re a very good team and a great program. Our goalkeeper (Wellman) played her best game of the season and she just got better and stronger as the game went on. I’m so happy for the girls, they needed this and they deserved it.”

After the big victory Seniors Adkins, McDonnel, and Kiersten Stehlik were all honored with a gift of flowers  for them and their parents. There was no JV game because Grand Blanc declined to play it. Next up for the Lady Bulldogs is the District playoffs.

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