MARQUETTE — The Petoskey boys were nearly in top form Monday, earning their third straight MHSAA Division 2 ski title at Marquette Mountain with 39 points.
They were followed by Bloomfield Hills Andover with 119 and Houghton-Hancock with 129.
The Northmen placed three among the top six in giant slalom and a trio among the top nine in slalom.
Petoskey junior Gunner Lundteigen became a double winner, taking giant slalom in 59.76 seconds and slalom in 1:19.22.
“We have a deep team this year,” Lundteigen said. “We all have the potential to win a race on any given day. We can also trust each other. If somebody has an off day, we have somebody else who can pick up the slack. It’s been like that all year. We felt there was a little extra pressure on us this time, although we tend to use that to our advantage.
“We’re a close-knit group and we all worked real hard for this. Some of my best friends are on this team. I just tried to ski to my potential and push myself harder each time.”
Lundteigen toured the course in 28.94 during the first run, and followed with a 30.82 in giant slalom. In slalom, he opened at 39.64 and improved to 39.58 in the second run.
Senior teammate Brian Erhart was runner-up in giant slalom (1:00.13), with Gerret Lundteigen sixth (1:01.22) and Ben Loomis 12th (1:02.31).
“This is definitely an exciting time for us,” said Erhart, who plans to attend a college in Colorado this fall. “We felt we had pretty good chance to win it. Although, we didn’t really plan anything. You never know what might happen. I was glad to see my teammate win. We train together all the time. This has been an awesome season. We’re a real strong team.”
Noah Honaker added a sixth in slalom (1:22.45), with Gerret Lundteigen ninth (1:23.61), Trevor Kingsbury 13th (1:26.8) and Erhart 16th (1:27.08) on a partly sunny and mild day.
Petoskey had just 13 points in giant slalom and 26 in slalom. Its top four skiers finished within three seconds of each in giant slalom.
The Northmen were coming off an even more dominant performance in this year’s Regional at Boyne Mountain, where they won by 90 points.
“The boys were one point away from a perfect score in the regional,” said Petoskey coach Travis Hill. “When you have momentum like that, it’s a great thing. And the kids really wanted it. This is good stuff.”
Maple City Glen Lake’s Thomas Waning was runner-up in slalom (1:19.38) and ninth in giant slalom (1:01.77).
Andover’s T.J. Stewart was third in both races. He was clocked at 1:00.23 in giant slalom and 1:20.03 in slalom. The Barons’ stronger event on this day appeared to be giant slalom, where Braden Cleary was 14th (1:02.53) with Ryan Stewart 16th (1:02.55).
Houghton’s Ian Helman was the highest Upper Peninsula finisher, taking 10th in slalom (1:25.08). Teammate Jacob Jarvis was 11th in giant slalom (1:02.16).
The Houghton-Hancock unit was the lone U.P. team to qualify for the Finals. Its next highest finisher was Tony Stein, who was 15th in slalom (1:26.98) and 22nd in giant slalom (1:03.71).
PHOTO: The Petoskey boys ski team poses with its MHSAA championship trophy. (Photo courtesy of Petoskey skiing program.
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.)