Marquette Boys Finish D1 Strive for 5

February 27, 2017

By James Cook
Special for Second Half

HARBOR SPRINGS – Bradley Seaborg doesn’t think this is the end of the road for Marquette’s boys skiing championships.

The Redmen graduate four seniors from a team that won Monday’s Division 1 title for the fifth straight year, more than doubling runner-up Traverse City Central.

“I don’t think this is the end at all,” Seaborg said. “We’ve still got Andrew Thomas, who is a very good junior. We’re losing four good guys, but we’re picking up a couple good freshmen next year.”

Seaborg is one of those seniors, but he went out by taking the individual slalom championship.

He and the rest of the team also went out a different way.

In shorts.

The entire Redmen team showed up to the awards ceremony – which was held outdoors at Nub’s Nob in Harbor Springs – in khaki shorts, much to the amusement of the crowd gathered.

Besides, the Redmen had their Upper Peninsula championships canceled because of unseasonably warm weather, so why not celebrate being able to win another crown in mild conditions?

“We were all like, ‘What should we wear for awards?’ and we were thinking khakis,” Seaborg said. “Then it was going to be pretty hot, so why not khaki shorts?”

First-year coach Dan Menze didn’t wear shorts, but wasn’t about to stop his boys from doing what they wanted after winning a school-record fifth straight title.

“You have to be professional throughout the day,” Menze said. “But at the end of the day, if you want to have a little fun and celebrate winning five championships in a row, I feel like they deserve to celebrate.”

The Redmen won four straight from 2000-03, a mark now eclipsed by this group’s streak of five.

“For us to break that and get our fifth is pretty sweet,” said Seaborg, who was involved in three of those titles.

Seaborg is a six-time first-team all-state selection, taking fifth in giant slalom in addition to his slalom championship.

He also won slalom last season and was top five in GS. He was top 10 in both as a freshman before taking off his sophomore season to focus on club skiing.

Menze said he inherited a great program, and added the pressure was on to continue its winning ways.

“I was blessed with an extremely talented team that I walked into coaching,” Menze said. “I’ve coached a lot of these guys coming up.”

Like Seaborg, Menze also isn’t willing to concede that the Redmen’s run could end next season.

“We had a lot of freshmen competing for spots on that A team,” Menze said. “We will have a slight rebuild. You can’t say you’re not going to after you had first and second on one side were seniors and three in the top 10 on the other side. It’ll be an interesting year next year. It’ll be a lot closer than it has been for years.”

Traverse City Central was second, 53 points behind Marquette (35). Rochester (110) was third, followed by Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern/Eastern (164) and Brighton (187).

“We expected to get second, and we got second,” said Central junior Joe Aulicino, who was seventh in slalom and ninth in GS. “It was kind of exactly what we thought would happen. It’s still pretty cool.”

Seaborg and teammates Eric Gencheff and Andrew Thomas gave the Redmen three of the top four slalom spots. Dylan Robinia was 11th, Adam Skendzel 20th and Truman Durand 21st.

Forest Hills Northern/Eastern’s Ben Meyers was the only non-Marquette skier in the top four of the event, taking third.

Meyers also won the giant slalom championship, holding off runner-up Gencheff on the second run.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette's Dylan Robinia comes around a gate during the Division 1 Finals at Nub's Nob. (Middle) Traverse City Central's Joe Aulicino helps the Trojans to a team runner-up finish. (Photos by James Cook.)

Petoskey Adds 2023 Team, Individual Championships to Finals Dominance

By Jordan Puente
Special for

February 28, 2023

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.

Houghton’s Eli Heathman eyes the path ahead during one of his races. "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.

Click for full results.

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.)