By John Raffel
Special to Second Half
BOYNE FALLS – Marquette is back as MHSAA Division I Boys Skiing champions after the Upper Peninsula school ended competition Monday with a combined score of 57 points to finish ahead of defending champion Clarkston’s 74 at Boyne Mountain.
The championship was the Redmen’s first since 2009 and eighth since skiing became an MHSAA-sponsored sport in 1975.
Marquette had a score of 34 in the slalom to match 2012 champion Clarkston. But Marquette was superior with a 23 in the giant slalom compared to 40 for Clarkston.
“I was proud of the boys,” said Marquette coach Marty Paulsen, who finished his third season running the program. “We scored well as a team. They all skied as a team and all knew what had to be done.
“It marks a pretty long tradition of skiing excellence and top skiing performances in the state,” he added. “It's great to be a part of that tradition.”
Taylor Janssen of White Lake Lakeland was the giant slalom individual champ while Finley Clark of Traverse City West took first place in the slalom.
Traverse City Central was third among teams at 95 points, Traverse City West fourth at 127 and Lake Orion fifth at 143. Okemos took sixth at 237 followed by South Lyon at 240, Grand Blanc at 271 and Brighton at 279.
Monday’s meet was Marquette’s finest performance this season, Paulsen said.
Luke Johnson, Nick Weber and Matt Anderson paced the Marquette attack in the giant slalom by placing fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. Dylan Larson scored a 14th place for Marquette. In the slalom, Nick Weber was eighth, Joe Weber 10th, Johnson 13th, Larson 15th, Anderson 23rd and Kyle King 36th.
“We had good results in giant slalom at Regionals,” Paulsen said. “All three top teams – Traverse City West, Traverse City Central and Marquette struggled in slalom a little bit. At Regionals, Traverse City West pulled it out. They had a great slalom performance. So today, we were able to put together our giant slalom with our slalom.”
Lakeland’s Janssen was the giant slalom individual champ with runs of 29.77 and 30.39 for a combined championship time of 1:00.16. Derek VanItallie of Clarkston was second at 1:00.49.
Also in the GS, Loan Stetsko of Lakeland was third at 1:00.50 while Johnson, Weber and Anderson had combined times of 1:00.55, 1:00.60 and 1:00.61, respectively.
Seth Thompson of Fenton/Linden was seventh at 1:00.63, Robbie Cort of Birmingham Brother Rice eighth at 1:00.71, Clark, the slalom champ, finished ninth at 1:00.80, and Ryan Callahan of Clarkston 10th at 1:00.88.
Janssen's family has a place in the area and he considers Boyne as his home hill.
“I grew up on this hill so it's kind of nice to win it my senior year,” he said. “I was really happy with my results. It's my senior year and I'm trying to get it done. The results speak for themselves. I had a really good day and I was happy.”
Fifth in the slalom was Janssen's previous best finish at an MHSAA Final.
“I knew I was going to ski well today,” he added. “I took kind of a conservative first run and had not my best run. I kind of got angry after my first run and was in seventh. I went into my second run saying 'it's do or die here. I went in with complete confidence that whatever I do on this run will be my high school legacy. I went after it and it all worked out.”
Clark, a senior at Traverse City West, took first in the slalom with runs of 31.44 and 32.85 for a 1:04.29. John Merchant of Walled Lake Northern was second at 31.65 and 32.67 for 1:04.32, and Ryan Callahan of Clarkston was third in 32.28 and 32.96 for 1:05.34.
“Last year, I was going in and one of my skis popped off, and I was sitting second after the first round, Clark said. “I changed bindings in skis, and I matured a little more so I knew what I was doing a little bit more.”
Also in the slalom, Janssen, the GS champ, was fourth in 1:06.05, followed by Cort at 1:06.58, VanItallie at 1:06.81, Kalvis Hornburg of TC Central at 1:07.49, Nick Weber at 1:07.59, Alex McIntosh at 1:07.79 and Joe Weber at 1:07.86.
PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette celebrates its eighth MHSAA team championship. (Middle) Traverse City Central's Kurt Frick races down the mountain during Monday's competition. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)