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Chelsea’s Ronnie Buford Announces College Commitment

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Chelsea Bulldog Ronnie Buford picks off a pass in his junior season

The Chelsea High School football team has produced yet another great young athlete to commit to a Division 1 college as Junior Ronnie Buford announced that he has officially committed to Western Michigan University (WMU) to continue his football career.

Ronnie has committed to the Broncos as a defensive end, where he excelled for the 11-1 Bulldogs team in 2016. The 6 foot 4 inch Buford also excels on the basketball court where he and his Bulldog teammates won the Districts in their division last season.  Buford moved recently to Chelsea from Ann Arbor where he was the starting quarterback for Skyline, but he was moved to defensive end for the Bulldogs where they could take advantage of his size and speed.

“The adjustment from offense to defense wasn’t a real big deal to me,” Ronnie stated. “It was a smooth transition because I understood both offensive and defensive schemes and learned quickly what my coaches were teaching me.”

Many colleges noticed Ronnie’s play in his first year on defense and were interested in him and he and his family visited many of them to get a feel for the community and check out the academics to see if the fit was right for him. Ronnie took his time and with the help of his loving family, friends, and coaches finally decided on his gridiron home for the 2018 season.

“The decision was hard, yet easy. We went to many places but when we went to WMU I just knew I wanted to be a Bronco after the first unofficial visit,” Ronnie stated. “As soon as I stepped foot on the Bronco’s football field,  I just had this feeling that I had at no other visit! It was a confirmation feeling like I belonged there.”

Ronnie also gives much credit to the WMU coaches for making him and his family feel comfortable on their visit.

“They treated me and my family so nice,” Ronnie said. “They were extremely good to my little brother and I could tell this was a great, solid family organization like Chelsea football is. And that’s what I’m all about, family.”

Ronnie plans to major in Business and get a minor in civil engineering while enjoying all the community of Kalamazoo and WMU have to offer. Ronnie is the son of Willie Buford, and Shallis and Laura Mask.

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4 Chelsea Field Hockey Players Sign Their Letters Of Intent

On Wednesday, Veterans Day, athletes from all over the area gathered in various places to sign their official letter of intent to their prospective universities. In Chelsea, 4 girls from the Division 1 State Champion Runners up Field Hockey team assembled together to sign theirs. Surrounded by blue and gold balloons and their historic season hardware, twin sisters Maggie and Meghan Cole, Sarah Mesko, and Gabbie Wink met with their head coach Leslie Fry as they donned their future school colors and took a big step in their bright futures.

Maggie and Meghan Cole, daughters of Jennifer Tracht and Matt Cole, were heavily recruited early on in their young field hockey careers by several colleges. But both girls will be taking their many awards and continuing their illustrious field hockey careers at Michigan State University because they simply fell in love with the campus and the people and it has a close proximity to home. Both girls are extremely excited yet a little nervous for college, as is to be expected. Both girls are members of the National Honor Society and have very high grade point averages. Maggie plans to study for a career in Criminal Justice but says, “that might change after she gets there.” Younger twin sister Meghan also planned to study criminal justice but after a devastating ACL injury, which has unfortunately kept her from playing sports her senior year, she now plans to study Exercise Science and hopes to someday become a physical therapist.

Sarah Mesko, daughter of Michelle Proulx Mesko and Mark Mesko, will be taking her field hockey skills a bit further north as she signed her letter to be a Chippewa at Central Michigan University (CMU). Sarah started her field hockey career in 6th grade, and although she excels at other sports and is involved with many things from being on the drum line in band, student council for 4 yrs, basketball as a freshman, 3 yrs of soccer, field hockey has always been her focus and passion and she enjoys it very much. Sarah would travel to tournaments and draw attention from many college’s coaches but she decided on CMU because it’s the campus she fell in love with. And although it’s a Mid American Conference School, (MAC) she will still be able play against a high level of competition throughout the country. Sarah is also in National Honor Society and carries a 3.85 grade point average while taking AP and Honors classes. She plans at this time to major in neuroscience and Pre-Med.

Last, but definitely not least, is Gabbie Wink, daughter of Jeff and Alison Wink of Pinckney. Gabbie signed her letter committing to be an Ohio University Bobcat attending classes at the Midwest first established University. Gabbie has been playing field hockey for many years and would attend showcase tournaments like Disney with her then Pinnacle Head coach Nancy Cox. She also participated in USA field hockey Futures program which helped her develop skills and she was selected to represent her region at the National futures championship tournament 3 times and 1 other as alternate so she received lots of exposure to college coaches there. She also crosstrained in varsity track her freshman year.In her Junior year she was selected MVP and All Conference as well as KLAA all academic for soccer. She chose Ohio University over other schools because it offered great engineering options, a beautiful campus, and after getting to know the coach and his philosophies about the team she felt a strong connection and knew this was the right fit for her. Like her teammates, Gabbie also is a member of National Honor Society and carries a high grade point average while she takes AP and honors classes. Gabbie plans on majoring in engineering, most likely civil.

As each young lady signed on the dotted line, committing to their bright futures, their proud friends and families looked on knowing that these girls will make a positive impact in the world of field hockey and beyond someday. And to them all, the best of luck!

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Chelsea Loses Heartbreaker in Field Hockey State Championship

Chelsea Loses Heartbreaker in State Championship

Chelsea’s Payton Doan makes a huge first half save against Pioneer
By Al Wright
on November 05, 2015 5:31 PM

It was a very monumental year for the Chelsea Field Hockey team this season. They beat last years state champions Ann Arbor Pioneer for the first time ever, they won the regular season championship outright, and they were  now in the Division 1 State Championship for the very first time where they would be facing Pioneer again. The teams had split the season series. And now they would face off in Ann Arbor Skyline stadium to see who would be victorious as the D1 champions of 2015.

The crowd trickled in on a grey smokey skied Saturday afternoon. A brisk chilling wind blew over the field as people were arriving bundled up with a big representation of Bulldog blue and gold huddled together with blankets, thermoses, and signs to cheer on their beloved team. A light mist was in the air and a frigid light rain began to fall. But that didn’t deter the multitudes from showing up nor did it seem to affect the team who were pumped and ready to go.

As the ball left the first Pioneer players stick it was Chelsea and their staunch defense jumping all over it as they have all season long. They were giving no room, allowing no separation, and were forcing turnovers but it seemed every time Chelsea drove into the Pioneer zone the whistle of the referee would blow and give the ball to Pioneer. Time after time this kept happening early on in the game.  Pioneer was awarded 7 penalty corners alone in the first half against the most disciplined team in the regular season. Try as they might though Pioneer couldn’t get the ball past the defense or Freshman goaltender Payton Doan who made several huge saves in the first half, many back to back off the corners. After an intense 30 minutes of hard play and tough defensive battle between the two teams the game remained scoreless.

In the second half Chelsea picked up the offense right away and started getting a few chances but they just couldn’t capitalize. After many more Pioneer corner advantages, Chelsea finally got their first corner at the 19 minute mark. But a bad hop and an unlucky bounce gave Pioneer the ball and on an odd man rush, Pioneer’s Mack Stoy was able to barely get a shot off and the ball deflected in past Doan for the first goal of the game.

Chelsea regrouped right away and turned up the pressure even more but just couldn’t gain the advantage. Things got real chippy as time ticked away as Pioneer ended up drawing two yellow cards as bodies were being flung to the ground. But the Bulldogs would bounce back up and with their never say die attitude continued to grind it out. In the final minute and a half Chelsea was awarded two more corners but even with some excellent stick handling from Maggie Cole, and slick passes from Jessi Olmsted, the Bulldogs jut couldn’t get the breaks they needed to score. As the clock’s final tickets ran off the clock Pioneer’s team swarmed the field in jubilation as they won back to back championships, and their 16th overall state title.

Although dejected in their loss Chelsea and their fans held their heads high with class knowing they played a great game and gave their best. It was a huge accomplishment for them to be in the championship game and in the future they will get another opportunity.

Jessi Olmsted cuts through the Pioneer defense(Al Wright)

Senior Captain Maggie Cole(Al Wright)

Payton Doan makes a big save backed up by Sarah Mesko(Al Wright)

The Chelsea fans were out in full force(Al Wright)

Gabbie Wink takes control(Al Wright)
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Chelsea Defeats Skyline, Headed To State Championship

Chelsea Defeats Skyline, Headed To State Championship

Chelsea celebrates their victory as they advance to the State Championship
By Al Wright

The French Diplomat  Talleyrand is credited with the proverb “revenge is a dish best served cold”. And at the semi finals game at Hollway Field in Ann Arbor Thursday night, it was indeed cold. With  twenty mile per hour gust of wind coming from the west  it dropped the temperature down to just above freezing at gametime as the Chelsea Field Hockey Team looked to exact their vengeance against Ann Arbor Skyline, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs in last years semi finals.

Chelsea was coming into the game off a hard fought 1-0 victory over Novi while Skyline was coming in off a 3-2 overtime victory over Ann Arbor Huron. Ann Arbor Pioneer had defeated Dexter 2-0 in the earlier semi final  game and were anxiously waiting to see who the finals opponent would be.

Skyline won the coin toss and started with the ball first and came out strong. But the defense of Chelsea, which allowed them to get this far, stepped up right away. Both teams were playing strong defense and was trying their hardest to force the other into that big goal allowing mistake. And it would be Skyline that blinked first at about the 12 minute mark as Senior Captain Maggie Cole got the ball low to Junior Madalyn Allen who knocked it in to the Skyline goal to the goalies left side to give the Bulldogs the 1-0 lead and the all too important first goal.

Skyline took the ball after the goal but it was Chelsea who controlled the flow mainly in the Eagle’s zone. When the Eagle’s did get pressure they were met with that stonewall defense of Chelsea. The game was pretty equal at the half in shots and penalty corners, with Chelsea having 3 and Skyline having 1. The main difference was the lone goal.

In the second half things started to get chippy. The Eagles knew they had to get back in the game and were playing hard as nails to score. But with Cole off the field serving time for a yellow card they still couldn’t break the speedy, intense defense of Chelsea. It was Cole’s only yellow card of the season and only the disciplined team’s second of the season. But the Eagles big break finally came after they had several penalty corner advantages in a row when Senior Captain Jillian Beemon moved the ball into play off the corner and Junior Captain Abbey Hutton blasted a big unstoppable shot into the Chelsea net to tie up the score at  the 21:53 mark.

Chelsea took the ball after the goal and it was Cole doing what she has done her entire career, juking past two Eagles and splitting past several more defenders to bury the ball in the Eagles net to put Chelsea back up in the lead, just 14 seconds after Skyline tied it up!

The hard play went back and forth as Skyline put it all on the table to try to force overtime in back to back games but Chelsea Freshman goaltender Payton Doan stood confident and tall  in net and challenged every shot, while being helped out and backed up by Seniors Kelly Bertoni and Gabbie Wink. Skyline never let up and played hard until the final seconds ticked off the clock but the formidable defense of Chelsea held on to put the team in the Division 1 State Championship for the first time ever.

Skyline left the field down but not out as they know they played a great game and have only 3 seniors graduating from the team. Next year’s Nicky Barrett coached team has a lot of positive things to build on for the future, as they return many sophomores and juniors.

The Chelsea girls celebrated their historic moment with laughter, tears, and plenty of smiles. But they know that there is another game and they are focused on completing their mission, their goal of a championship dream season which will try to be accomplished against last years state champions Pioneer at Ann Arbor Skyline High School on Saturday, Halloween, at 2:30 P.M. Chelsea split the season series with Pioneer this year. The Division 2 championship game between Detroit Country Day and Saline will take place beforehand at noon.

Chelsea puts pressure on Skyline(Al Wright)

Senior Gabbie Wink moves the ball upfield(Al Wright)

The team celebrates their victory(Al Wright)

Chelsea’s goalie Payton Doan makes a big save(Al Wright)
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