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The Voice of the Tyrone Area High School

Tyrone Eagle Eye News

The Voice of the Tyrone Area High School

Tyrone Eagle Eye News

Tyrone Alum Part of P-O State Championship Coaching Staff

Math teacher Chelsey Markel is the assistant coach for the state champion P-O Lady Mounties girls volleyball team.
Markel+%28first+row%2C+second+from+left%29+has+been+with+the+Lady+Mounties+as+the+assistant+coach+for+10+years.+
courtesy of Chelsey Markel
Markel (first row, second from left) has been with the Lady Mounties as the assistant coach for 10 years.

Tyrone and Philipsburg may be rivals on the volleyball court, but Tyrone volleyball alumni and fans still have reason to celebrate Philipsburg’s 2023 state championship title.

Tyrone Area High School alum and TAHS math teacher Chelsey Markel is the assistant coach for the Lady Mounties.

Philipsburg’s head coach Dave Eckberg also has Tyrone ties.

I was so happy for the girls. It honestly didn’t sink in at first and I just kind of kept saying ‘Did that just really happen?’ It is a memory I will always cherish

— Tyrone Alum and P-O Assistant Coach Chelsey Markel

Eckberg was a high school guidance counselor at TAHS for 11 years, and in 2001 he coached Tyrone’s first varsity girls volleyball team, which included Markel as a player. Eckberg later hired Markel as his assistant coach at Philipsburg.

Almost 23 years later, the experience of winning a state championship was thrilling for Markel, who has been Philipsburg’s assistant coach for the past 10 seasons.

“I was so happy for the girls,” Markel said, “It honestly didn’t sink in at first and I just kind of kept saying ‘Did that just really happen?’ It is a memory I will always cherish.”

Markel’s coaching career began after she graduated from Penn State with a degree in secondary math. She landed her first teaching job as a long-term substitute at Philipsburg Area High School, where Eckberg is the head girls volleyball coach.

“I went to watch one of their games and talked with Coach Eckberg,” said Markel, “That next summer he had asked if I wanted to be his assistant for the following season.”

The experience of helping to build the Philipsburg program into one of the best programs in the state has been rewarding for both Markel and Eckberg.

Eckberg has nothing but praise for Markel, who he calls an excellent coach and role model, and someone who shares his coaching vision.

“The [players] look up to Coach Markel as a teacher, a coach, and a person,” Eckberg said, “Head coaches look for assistants who are dependable, organized, and committed. Chelsey checks all of the boxes. Not only does she help develop young players who will eventually be on the varsity team, but she also helps make adjustments to our rotations during matches whenever we are struggling.”

The [players] look up to Coach Markel as a teacher, a coach, and a person. Head coaches look for assistants who are dependable, organized, and committed. Chelsey checks all of the boxes.

— Head Coach Dave Eckberg

Over the past 10 years, Markel has spent countless hours commuting between Tyrone and Philipsburg to help her players become one of the best small schools in the state.

“Not many people realize the amount of extra time coaches put in. It is so much more than running practices and coaching matches for three months. So I think there was also a sense of relief for her that all of the hard work had paid off,” Eckberg said.

Markel credited the dedication of the players as the key to their success this season.

“The girls spent a lot of time preparing for each of their opponents. We would watch tape and the girls knew exactly where each of the opposing six players wereon the court, what their role was, and where they were attacking from during each point of the match,” said Markel.

Markel said that the girls also spent a lot of time focusing on being good and supportive teammates.

“It was very important for us to make sure they were all working together towards the common goal of getting back to the state playoffs and winning the state title,” Markel said.

P-O starting setter Madison Lumadue called Markel her “go-to” person if she needed to talk.

“Coach Markel has greatly impacted my life through her kindness and willingness to help me with everything I need,” Lumadue said, “She truly impacted my volleyball career.”

The state title was the first in P-O program history, but the Lady Mounties had been close the previous three seasons, after trips to the 2020 state final and 2021 and 22 state semifinals.

In 2023, Philipsburg had to beat two of the top teams in the state just to get to the finals.

“There was a lot of pressure to beat Freeport in the quarterfinals, which is the team we lost to last year in the semifinals. And then to also beat Beaver, in the same gym that we lost in the semifinals two years ago against North Catholic.

Coach Markel has greatly impacted my life through her kindness and willingness to help me with everything I need. She truly impacted my volleyball career

— PO setter Madison Lumadue

In the state finals, they had to beat Trinity, the same team that defeated Philipsburg 3-1 three years ago in the 2020 state finals.

This year, it was a 3-1 victory for the Lady Mounties.

When asked if there was anything she would like to add about the experience, Markel expressed her thanks.

“I want to thank my team and fellow coaches for such an amazing season and just want to say again how proud I am of all of them,” said Markel, “I am so proud that I am a part of two communities like Philipsburg and Tyrone. The support from the community at all our games was amazing. The support and congratulations that I got from multiple staff members and students here at Tyrone has been awesome and I am so appreciative.”

Eckberg is also thankful for the role that Markel has played over the last 10 seasons and is almost as excited for her as he is for himself and his players.

“It is nice when good things happen to good people. It was great to see Coach Markel be able to experience such a memorable moment,” Eckberg said.

I am so proud that I am a part of two communities like Philipsburg and Tyrone. The support from the community at all our games was amazing. The support and congratulations that I got from multiple staff members and students here at Tyrone has been awesome and I am so appreciative.

— Chelsey Markel

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About the Contributor
Rylan Crowell, Staff Writer
Rylan is a sophomore at Tyrone High School. This is her first year in Eagle Eye. She is very excited to be in Eagle Eye this year! Rylan is a member of the volleyball and basketball teams. She enjoys hanging out with friends and family, listening to music, and watching Netflix in her free time. Some of her favorite artist are Noah Kahan, Taylor Swift, and Post Malone. After high school, her plans are to attend college to be a physician assistant and specialize in cardiology. Rylan hopes to cover spotlights, special events, sports, and exciting school activities.

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