MARQUETTE — It was a great day to be a member of the Marquette ski program Monday, as both team won MHSAA Division 1 championships at Marquette Mountain.
The Marquette boys turned in a dominating performance with 22 points, followed by Traverse City Central with 90 and Bloomfield Hills with 135.
Marquette, which earned its fourth straight championship, grabbed the top four places in slalom and top three spots in giant slalom on a sunny, but chilly and windy day.
“Everybody had to finish together,” Marquette coach Marty Paulsen said. “For the girls, this was probably their strongest performance as a team all year. The boys have been solid all year. Our junior (developmental) programs have coaches who start grooming these kids in elementary school. We also have supportive parents who drive their kids all over for ski tournaments, buy the equipment and pay for coaches, which is a big commitment for them.”
Junior Brad Seaborg captured the boys individual title in slalom in one minute, 11.3 seconds, followed by senior Joe Weber (1:12.49) and teammates Drew Thomas (1:14.16) and Adam Skendzel (1:14.37).
“We’ve been training for this all year and had good preparation for today,” Seaborg said. “We spent the past week training on this hill and have been very focused in practice all year. This was a great meet. The conditions were brutal this morning. The wind was very strong. I made sure I stayed low. In giant slalom, I think I did some of my best skiing all year.
“We had a good day as a team, and Joe had a great day. Joe and I have gone back and forth all year.”
Weber won the giant slalom in 57.54 seconds, followed by Seaborg (58.4) and Thomas (58.8) and Central’s Lars Hornburg (59.51).
“As a team we came out here to execute,” said Weber, who will attend University of Michigan this fall. “We performed the way we knew we could. There was a lot of wind out here today, but you really have to go for it. You can’t hold back. We have a lot of competition in practice, which helps a lot. We’re going at it every day, trying to win. It has been my goal for the last four years to help keep the title in Marquette.”
The Marquette boys have captured 11 MHSAA titles overall. Traverse City Central finished second for the third straight season.
PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette’s Brad Seaborg speeds downhill on the way to winning the slalom championship Monday. (Middle) Teammate Joe Weber cuts past a gate on the way to winning the giant slalom. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
BOYNE FALLS — Petoskey’s dynasty continued to brew at Monday’s Division 2 Ski Finals at Boyne Mountain.
The program added its 12th Division 2 championship over the last 13 years – and fourth straight – finishing first with a combined score of 63.
Pontiac Norte Dame Prep (83) finished runner-up, and Great North Alpine (116) finished third. Harbor Springs placed fourth at 128.
“It's great to see the seniors be able to close that out with four state championships in a row," Petoskey coach Ben Crockett said.
Northmen senior Nolan Walkerdine earned an individual medal finishing first in the slalom with a combined time of 1:10.87. Walkerdine said afterward he couldn't believe his team won again after experiencing an emotional roller coaster season.
"I've been working towards this for my entire life," Walkerdine said.
Senior teammate Wyatt Mattson won giant slalom (1:07.77) and finished seventh in the slalom. He noted he grew up watching Petoskey win 10 straight Division 2 Finals – a level of success he always wanted to take part in.
"When I was in eighth grade, we broke our winning streak," Mattson said. "I felt like we had to avenge that because I was used to us winning, to win four years in a row.
"This feels good," he continued.
Crockett has been coaching Petoskey for three seasons and never experienced anything but a Finals championship. Crockett realizes that won't last forever, but being undefeated on championship day is something he'll cherish.
He couldn't help but smile and laugh when realizing the feat.
"I had a few tastes of defeat, but that's just a testament to how strong the program is and how much it's a part of our community," Crockett said.
"It's a year where the team gelled together, and they enjoyed themselves the most of all the years," Crockett added. "Many of them are upperclassmen, and that sense of the end is coming — as every student (experiences) — as they get towards the end of their high school careers, they just seemed like they enjoy the experience as they're moving through it."
Walkerdine is hopeful that since his time on the team is at an end, newcomers can continue the dynasty they’ve continued building.
“Let’s keep this thing rolling,” he said.
Mattson was followed in the GS by Houghton’s Eli Heathman and Walkerdine, as Petoskey put four placers among the top 11 in that event.
Walkerdine was followed in slalom by Great North Alpine’s Corbin Murphy and Heathman in third.
PHOTOS (Top) Petoskey’s Nolan Walkerdine races past a gate during Monday’s Division 2 Finals at Boyne Mountain. (Middle) Houghton’s Eli Heathman eyes the path ahead during one of his races. (Click for more later this week from Sports in Motion – Division 2.)