Skiing Finals: Downhill Champions Rise
February 29, 2012
The MHSAA Skiing Finals frequently are dominated by teams that have built stacks of championships over the years.
But occasionally, a new contender enters the mix -- and dominates like the Clarkston boys did Monday at the Division 1 Final at Nub's Nob.
The Wolves moved up one spot from their 2011 runner-up finish to claim their first MHSAA team skiing championship with 81 points, 38 ahead of runner-up Marquette.
Clarkston placed three among the top 13 in the slalom and four among the top 17 in the giant slalom. Derek Vanitallie finished fourth in both the slalom (1:14.91) and giant slalom (49.47), while teammate Grant Huber was 13th in the slalom (1:18.79) and fifth in the giant (49.54).
The Wolves were the only first-time team champion at the four boys and girls Finals this season. But all four meets had their share of storylines:
- The Harbor Springs girls also moved up from a 2011 runner-up finish to claim the Division 2 team championship at Boyne Highlands, their first MHSAA title since 2004. The Rams finished 20 points ahead of reigning champion Petoskey, led by Rose Pellegrom's sixth place in the giant slalom and 10th in the slalom.
- Manistee/Traverse City St. Francis' Nathalie Kenny, Maple City Glen Lake's Christina Rennie and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood's Mandy Haferkorn made their ways to the top of both Division 2 race results. Kenny became the ninth girl to win multiple MHSAA giant slalom championships by finishing first with a two-run 59.79, while Rennie became the fifth girl to win multiple MHSAA slalom titles by taking first in that race with a 1:12.16. Kenny was second in the slalom, Rennie was fourth in the giant, and Haferkorn was second in the giant and third in the slalom.
- The Traverse City West girls edged Big North Conference rival Traverse City Central by three points to win the Division 1 Final with 70 total. The win was West's first since 2007, while Central finished Division 1 runner-up for the fifth straight season. Lili Lockwood led West with a fifth place in the giant slalom (53.46) and a fourth in the slalom (1:15.59).
- Five others joined Lockwood among contenders in both Division 1 races, including a trio of individual qualifiers. Lake Orion individual qualifier Marie Dohm took first in the giant slalom (52.75) and seventh in the slalom. Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills/Lowell/Comstock Park's Abi Ellis was second in the slalom and seventh in the giant, while Marquette's Whitney Stilwell was second in the giant and fifth in the slalom -- Ellis and Stilwell also were individual Finals qualifiers. White Lake Lakeland's Kelsey Griffin was the individual champion in the slalom (1:12.95) and was eighth in the giant. Bloomfield Hills Marian's Kelly Lunghamer finished her stellar high school career by taking third in the slalom and sixth in the giant as her team finished third overall.
- Saginaw Heritage's Bobby Leddy had qualified for the Finals all four years of high school, with a high finish of seventh. But this time, the Hawks' individual qualifier swept the Division 1 individual races, finishing in 1:11.67 to win the slalom and 48.72 to win the giant. Traverse City West's Ryan Ness took second in the slalom and third in the giant.
- The Petoskey boys repeated as Division 2 team champions with 66 points, 20 fewer than Cranbrook-Kingswood. Gunner Lundteigen took fourth in the slalom and teammate Noah Honaker was fifth in the giant for the Northmen.
- Four individuals dominated the individual standings in Division 2. Maple City Glen Lake's Thomas Waning won the giant slalom (58.86) and finished second in the slalom, while Manistee/St. Francis' Stephen Siddall was first in the slalom (1:13.09) and fourth in the giant. Manistee/St. Francis' Cole McCardel finished third in both races, and Cranbrook-Kingswood's John Briggs was runner-up in the giant and eighth in the slalom.
Click for full Division 1 boys and girls results, Division 2 boys and Division 2 girls.
PHOTOS: (Top) Clarkston's Grant Huber and (middle) Traverse City West's Lili Lockwood. See more photos at High School Sports Scene.