MARQUETTE — The Marquette girls ski team won its first MHSAA team championship since 2009, pulling away in a close race Monday at familiar Marquette Mountain.
The Redettes scored 84 points to win the Division 1 championship and were followed by Bloomfield Hills Marian with 101 and Traverse City Central with 103. Central has finished runner-up the last two seasons.
Marquette sophomore Sadah Scheidt gained top honors in girls slalom with a time of 1:25.11, followed by senior teammate Hanna Johnson (1:29.88), Marian’s Olivia Weymouth (1:30.36) and Marquette’s Natalie Robinia (1:30.75).
“It was real windy at the top, but you had to have direction coming down,” said Scheidt, who will leave for Vail, Colo., on March 9 to compete in the Junior Olympics. “You needed to move forward at the top and bottom and just give it your all. Our team did super well. We really didn’t expect to do this well.”
Marquette coach Marty Paulsen said it was arguably his team’s strongest performance of the season. The Redettes took third in their Regional, but now own nine MHSAA championships.
“We know where the rolls and bumps are,” Scheidt said of competing on a local slope. “It’s real special to win it all here. Being from here and winning here is a great feeling.”
North Farmington/Harrison sophomore Amalie Perez finished first in the giant slalom in a time of 1:02.66. She was followed by South Lyon’s Anna Geyer (1:03.21), Weymouth (1:03.77) and Robinia (1:04.1).
Perez was the leader in both rounds of giant slalom, recording a 33.82 on her first run, followed by a 28.84 in the second.
“This was a real good experience,” said Perez, an exchange student from France. “I’m usually better in slalom, but I fell today. I just tried to relax and do my best in giant slalom and not worry about the wind.
“Coming to the United States has been a great experience. I’ve had a chance to meet new people and make new friends.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette’s Sarah Scheidt skis the slalom course at Marquette Mountain on the way to a first-place finish. (Middle) North Farmington/Harrison’s Amalie Perez completes the giant slalom course; she finished first in that event. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
Instead of “to be or not to be” or channeling The Clash and its hit song, “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” there’s another question that Rochester Adams senior Katie Fodale is pondering at the moment as it relates to her college athletic future.
Should I golf or ski?
Fodale said if it was simply about what sport she wanted to do in college, it would be skiing.
“Skiing is my passion. I love it so much,” she said. “I love playing golf. But I love the adrenaline rush and how fast skiing is. I love the feeling of going fast on the snow. You can feel the wind on your cheeks, and when you get to the end of the run, you think back on your run and it feels like it didn’t happen because it’s so fast. But it’s really fun that way. I like that adrenaline boost.”
A few more factors add to the dilemma.
There are not many college ski programs, and they tend to load up with skiers from European countries.
Fodale also wants to study biology, and finding school with a golf or ski program that can help with that ambition is important also.
“Golf is much more attainable,” said Fodale, adding that Kalamazoo College has given her an offer to play golf.
While uncertain about the future, Fodale can at least focus on the present as the best female skier in the Detroit area, which is following up a recent past that saw her part of a Division 1 championship golf team at Adams in the fall.
Fodale finished the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final tied for eighth individually with a two-day score of 158 (82-76) to help Adams repeat as champion.
On the slopes, Fodale is the two-time reigning Division 1 champion in the slalom, topping even the best skiers from Northern Michigan schools.
Fodale said despite their contrasts, golf and skiing have complemented her as an athlete from a mental standpoint.
“At golf, I have gotten a lot better at perfecting the mindset of one hole at a time,” she said. “For skiing, you can take it on one run and one turn at a time. Not focus on the end result.”
In addition to winning the slalom for a third straight year at this season’s Finals on Feb. 26, Fodale also is motivated to win her first title in the giant slalom after three top-five finishes. Adams will compete in Division 2 this time, at Nubs Nob and is racing in its Regional today at Pine Knob in Clarkston.
“I do want to win the GS this year,” Fodale said. “I really feel like this year my GS has improved too. I think I have what it takes, and hopefully the results work in my favor.”
When she is not at high school practices or meets, Fodale spends her weekends competing in races conducted by the International Ski and Snowboard Federation, otherwise known as FIS.
Adams head coach Jaime Jackson said that during a recent meet in Canada, Fodale held her own against skiers in their mid-20s, ranking as the top U.S. racer at the event.
“It’s hard to improve on what she did last year,” Jackson said. “She has so much experience and so much skill, whenever she’s not having a great run, she still is having a great run.”
Given that, there certainly isn’t much “coaching” Jackson has to do with Fodale, although there still is one important function he performs.
“Somebody has to put her name in the lineup, right,” Jackson quipped.
It’s been a frustrating winter for Fodale and other ski teams that have seen their season impacted by warm weather that has melted snow and created slushy conditions.
Ironically, the weather lately has been warmer than Fodale played in on the second day of Golf Finals weekend in October when it was windy, chilly and rainy at Forest Akers West.
But with a colder forecast for the latter half of February, Fodale should be nicely set up to win a third Finals title in the slalom and her first in the giant slalom.
Once the finals are over, the big question will intensify.
Should she golf or should she ski?
“I’m still figuring that out,” Fodale said.
If her high school athletic career is an indication, it won’t really matter. Whatever Fodale decides to do, she’ll thrive.
Keith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties
PHOTOS (Top) Rochester Adams’ Katie Fodale finishes a run during last season’s Division 1 Ski Finals. (Middle) Fodale, third from left, celebrates her team’s Division 1 golf championship in the fall. (Top photo by Sports in Motion, middle photo by High School Sports Scene.)