Lewandowski Sweep Paces TC West Boys' 3rd-Straight Championship Run

By James Cook
Special for MHSAA.com

February 27, 2023

BELLAIRE – Dubs turned into trips, which could become quads.

Traverse City West won its third straight Division 1 boys skiing championship Monday at Schuss Mountain in Bellaire.

Titans junior Caleb Lewandowski won both the slalom and giant slalom, his third individual Finals crowns and his family's fourth (his older brother Aiden won the 2021 GS title), and next year three younger brothers who are part of quadruplets will join the West program as freshmen as well.

The Titans girls edged Central as well at their Division 1 Finals on Monday, making West just the sixth school to win boys and girls skiing state titles in the same year, joining TC Central, Petoskey, Cadillac, Harbor Springs and Marquette. Only Central, West and Marquette did that at the Division 1 (or Class A, previously) level.

After the Titans (52) and Traverse City Central (57) boys, Marquette placed third with 106 points, followed by Brighton (167), Clarkston (177), Fenton-Linden-Lake Fenton (194), Birmingham (238), Rochester Adams (256) and Milford (277).

TC West and Central combined for 24 of the 40 first-team all-state spots, including eight of 10 in boys slalom.

"It's exciting just for Traverse City in general to see first and second place from both sides," said West head coach Ed Johnson, who now has six Finals championships, three each for boys and girls. "Obviously, we love to win, but it's really cool to see how many trophies we took home to Traverse City today. It speaks highly of the programs that are going on there right now and the junior programs and the up-and-comers."

Four trophies were handed out Monday — two champions and two runners-up. All went back to Traverse City.

The Titans celebrate their championship at Schuss Mountain.There wasn't much question about it, either. The third-place team resided at least 30 points back on both sides.

"Coming into it, I knew it was a real possibility that we could do it, but everything had to come together at the right time," Johnson said. "We've been working on getting the kids to peak at the right time in the season, and it's worked out pretty well."

"For a second year in a row we have shown the state how strong our skiing is here in Traverse City," said Central head coach Amy Kudary, who led the Trojans to back-to-back girls titles in 2021 and 2022. "That’s something we can all be proud of.”

Luke Wiersema's first slalom run wasn't great. The TC West junior hiked after missing a gate and still managed to sit in 22nd place. Then his second run was the third-fastest to move him all the way up to ninth place and a first-team all-state finish.

That move essentially boosted West's score by 13. The Titans won the boys championship by five.

"I just kind of leaned in (too much) and then just had to hike a little bit, but then made it down," Wiersema said. "(The second) was an awesome, surreal run."

Wiersema said the second run was his best of the season.

"Everyone's happy, so it's good," Wiersema said. "We've definitely put in a lot of hard work. Skiing in the rain and when it's 50 degrees, it's been a lot of hard work."

West's boys scored 18 in slalom. For reference, a perfect score in which all four top spots go to the same team would be 10.

Lewandowski also had won the slalom last season as a sophomore.

"It feels amazing," Lewandowski said. "Just to help my team out, helped my boys."

Lewandowski posted three of the day's four fastest times, with Wiersema getting the other one in his second GS run.

"I don't really want to sound cocky, but all of us were wanting to win it really bad," Lewandowski said. "We thought we could. We had a few mess-ups that gave us some pushback, but we fought hard and we came away with it."

The top 10 in giant slalom – who all earn first-team all-state honors – were Lewandowski, Wiersema, Marquette's Sam Dehlin, TC Central's Jace Rowell, Lake Orion's Broden Janczarek, Brighton's Cru Smith, TC Central's Asher Paul, TC West's Isaac Shapiro, TC Central's Didier Ramoie and Flushing's Anthony Trovato.

The top 10 in GS were Lewandowski, Dehlin, Paul, TC West's Ben Schramski, Shapiro, Rowell, Ramoie, Trovato, Wiersema and TC Central's Luke Farella.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Traverse City West's Caleb Lewandowski approaches a gate during one of his runs Monday. (Middle) The Titans celebrate their championship at Schuss Mountain. (Click for more from Sports in Motion - Division 1.)

Galbraith Sets Pace as Petoskey Continues Magnificent Finals Run

By Jordan Puente
Special for MHSAA.com

February 27, 2024

HARBOR SPRINGS — The Petoskey boys ski team remains in a class of its own.

Petoskey crushed the slopes at Nub’s Nob in Harbor Springs on Monday by collecting its fifth-straight Division 2 championship with a combined score of 68 points. Monday’s title run marks the program’s 12th D2 title in 13 years, and the Northmen show no signs of slowing down.

Coach Ben Crockett credited his entire coaching staff and parents for the team’s success since he began guiding the Northmen in 2019.

“The boys came together after a Regional event where we had some strong competition,” Crockett said. “When they realized it was a foregone conclusion they were going to win another state championship, they rallied and came together to execute a plan.”

Houghton’s Eli Heathman speeds down the hill on the way to winning the giant slalom.With Petoskey coming in first place, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s finished runner-up (102), and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (134) finished third. Great North Alpine placed fourth (134), and Harbor Springs finished fifth with a team score of 155.

Northmen junior Gavin Galbraith finished with an individual title in the slalom and third-place finish in giant slalom.

Galbraith finished the slalom with a combined time of 1:08.53 and the giant slalom with a combined time of 50.85. Teammates Taylor Keiswetter and McClure Galbraith placed in the top 10 in the giant slalom.

Keiswetter finished fifth with a combined time of 50.98, and McClure placed eighth with a combined time of 52.21.

"It's great that all of my hard work has paid off this season. Thanks to all my coaches and the Nub's Nob staff," Gavin said.

Gavin’s journey to get to where he is today started freshman year when he was named the 16th skier on the varsity roster. After waiting for his turn, he didn't shy away from the moment.

Last season, Galbraith watched the Northmen capture the team title, and the junior sensation was motivated to continue that streak Monday.

"All my coaches and family have been pushing me to keep this streak going," he said. "If we didn't win today, it would've been a bummer. But we tried our best, and that's all that matters."

Houghton’s Eli Heathman won the giant slalom with a combined time of 50.09, followed by Cadillac’s Brady Koenig in 50.74 and Galbraith in third. Gaylord’s Keaton Abraham was fourth (50.96) and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s CJ Studt was fifth (50.98).

Onekama’s Braydon Sorenson finished runner-up in the slalom with a combined time of 1:09.07, East Grand Rapids' Quinn Irwin finished third (1:09.42), Harbor Springs’ Jackson Deegan finished fourth with a combined time of 1:10.10, and St. Mary’s Pierson Kuhn finished fifth with a combined time of 1:10.93.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Petoskey’s Gavin Galbraith races to the Division 2 slalom championship Monday. (Middle) Houghton’s Eli Heathman speeds down the hill on the way to winning the giant slalom. (Photos by Sarah Shepherd. Click for all photos.)