By Andrew Rosenthal
Special for Second Half
HARBOR SPRINGS – Petoskey is back on top of Division 2.
Coach Erik Lundteigen and the Northmen earned their 12th MHSAA Finals title scoring 56 points to win Monday’s Final at Nub’s Nob after finishing second last season to Great North Alpine. Harbor Springs was runner-up this time with a score of 64, and Great North Alpine placed third with a score of 84.5.
Petoskey had won eight straight Division 2 titles before last season's second-place finish.
“It’s great to be back on top,” Lundteigen said. “It's nice being on the home hill. We certainly had an advantage racing on our home turf.”
Harbor Springs was feeling the same way, earning the runner-up trophy seven miles away from its school.
“The boys team especially has been challenged every week,” Harbor Springs coach Jane Ramer said. “They've been working so hard, and it's really great to see all their hard work being paid off.”
Jimmy Flom led the Northmen on Monday with the individual title in the slalom and a sixth-place finish in the giant slalom. Flom raced for a time of 1:15.54 in the slalom with the second-best runs each side of the mountain.
Starting off the day with three Northmen on the podium, Petoskey scored 27 points off the giant slalom. Andrew “Tripp” Thomas took fourth place, joining teammates Anders McCarthy and Flom on the podium.
“We kind of locked it down a little bit,” Flom said. “We walked into slalom with a nice lead. Unfortunately our first seed skier tripped, he had a little bobble which kind of hurt us a little bit, but everyone else just skied calm and controlled.”
Andrew Truman of Harbor Springs took the title in the morning race, later turning around for a second-place finish in the slalom. In the GS race, Truman posted the best times in both runs.
It was Truman’s first Finals title after finishing second in both the slalom and GS in 2019.
“I was really hoping I could win at least one,” Truman said. “When I won it this morning, I was so relieved that I won.”
Flom beat Truman’s time by 22 hundredths of a second in the slalom. Flom, McCarthy and Will Goelz all finished within the top 12 of that event, and the Northmen were again the top boys team with a score of 29.
Truman joined Cole Huffman each with two medals. Huffman placed fifth in GS with a time of 51.60 and seventh in slalom with a time of 1:20.19.
“(Truman) is a great racer, and he is a great athlete,” Ramer said. “He's really focused, he's really dedicated to the sport. He practices like he's racing, he's got a great attitude and he’s a joy to coach.”
GNA’s Cooper Kerkhof was right in the fight for first in both events, taking second in the giant slalom and third in the slalom. Andrew Bliss won a pair of medals as well, taking eighth in slalom and ninth in giant slalom.
PHOTOS: (Top) Petoskey’s Jimmy Flom navigates the hill in leading his team to the Division 2 championship Monday at Nub’s Nob. (Middle) Harbor Springs’ Andrew Truman earned first and second-place finishes. (Click to see more from Sports in Motion.)
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.)