Marquette Shines Again in Repeat

February 24, 2014

By Chris Dobrowolski
Special to Second Half

BELLAIRE — The pressure was on.

But Marquette still managed to thrive at the MHSAA Division 1 Boys Skiing Final at Schuss Mountain.

Despite winning the title last year, and even though it recorded a perfect score at the Regional to enter this year's championship meet as the prohibitive favorite, the Redmen didn't have any type of letdown in winning the school's second consecutive skiing crown.

"To win back-to-back, it's really difficult to do," Marquette coach Marty Paulsen said. "There was huge pressure. I preferred being the underdog. Coming in last year we were a little bit of an underdog.

“We were a little under ranked at the beginning of the year. We came down for Petoskey's invitational and showed a little bit of the depth that the boys have. At our Regionals (at Marquette Mountain) we had a little bit of a home hill advantage. They really shined there, and then we come here and the pressure's on. Our boys, it wasn't spotless. We've been getting perfect scores, but they held together in slalom, skied like a team and they won as a team."

The Redmen finished with 49 points, well ahead of second-place Traverse City Central, which had 92.5. Clarkston was third with 134.

Marquette had three in the top 10 in giant slalom and three in the top four of slalom to run away from the field. 

Marquette's Luke Johnson was the top slalom finisher with a combined total of 1:00.02, while Nick Weber was brilliant in both disciplines, taking second in giant slalom (47.21) and third in slalom (1:01.89). Bradley Seaborg finished fourth in slalom (1:02.25) and was ninth in giant slalom (48.68), and Dylan Larson took 11th in giant slalom (48.85) and 12th in slalom (1:03.86). Matt Anderson captured a seventh-place finish in giant slalom (48.19) for the defending champs.

"This is a really special group of seniors we have," said Paulsen, who has helped guide Marquette to two titles and a runner-up finish in four years coaching at the school. "You could see their potential when they were freshmen."

Traverse City Central had seen what the Redmen were capable of when it saw them win the Regional title earlier in the month. So finishing second wasn't a disappointment whatsoever for Central boys coach Nick Stanek.

"We were happy to get second," said Stanek. "It was kind of our goal to get second because we knew Marquette had such a strong team. We knew how good their team was, and we just wanted to try and close the gap. Ultimately, we knew second was an option, and Clarkston was our main competition for that so we were able to handle and take down Clarkston.

"(Marquette) is probably one of the best teams, the best group of kids I've seen in the time I've coached. You've got six kids right there, and every one of them could potentially win the state title themselves." 

Dirk Phelps topped the Trojans with a sixth-place finish (1:02.96), Tyler Sepanik was eighth (1:03.4), Kurt Frick took 10th (1:03.6) and Zak Collins claimed 16th (1:04.37). Led by giant slalom champion Derek Vanitallie (46.69), Clarkston finished second as a team in giant slalom, but Central was close enough (52.5 points) to make it count in the final overall standings.

"We definitely wanted to win it all, but we were happy getting second because we all skied solid today," said Sepanik, who added a 14th-place finish (49.2) in giant slalom for Central. "It was pretty awesome." 

Frick added a fifth-place finish to lead Central in giant slalom (48.1).

"It was a good way to close out my high school career," Frick said. "I did what I could for the team." 

Lars Hornburg (15th, 49.22) and Phelps (18th, 49.55) rounded out Central's GS counters.

Click for full results. 

PHOTO: (Top) Marquette skiers celebrate their latest championship. (Middle) Lake Orion's Justin Pavliscak comes around a gate during one of his runs. (Middle photo courtesy of Schuss Mountain.)

Galbraith Sets Pace as Petoskey Continues Magnificent Finals Run

By Jordan Puente
Special for

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.)