Performance: Gaylord's Reagan Olli

February 23, 2019

Reagan Olli
Gaylord junior – Skiing

Despite a broken left wrist, and cast covering it, Olli won the giant slalom at the Division 2 Regional at Nub’s Nob in a two-run 54.94, and also qualified for Monday’s MHSAA Finals in the slalom in earning the Michigan Army National Guard Performance of the Week.

Olli suffered the wrist injury while racing in Duluth , Minn., a few weeks earlier and she anticipates wearing a cast into early March. But that won’t stop her from attempting to repeat as the Division 2 champion in the slalom, although the wrist has given her a little more pain in that race because competitors cross-block – or make contact with the gates – which they do not in the GS. She finished seventh in the slalom at last week’s Regional in 127.10 and expects to contend in both races Monday at Boyne Mountain. She finished second in the giant slalom at the 2018 Finals.

Olli also is the goalkeeper for Gaylord’s varsity girls soccer team and anticipates being ready to block plenty of shots once that season gets rolling in the spring. She’s considering the possibility of competing in either sport in college after she finishes up high school next year and also carries a GPA above 4.0 that ranked her among the top five students in her graduating class academically heading into this school year. Of course, she has plenty of time to decide, but is interested in the medical field and considering studying to become a physician’s assistant.

Coach Bill Snow said: “I’ve had the privilege of coaching Reagan for three years. Reagan is a dedicated, committed, talented, humble, accomplished, skier. Not only is she a superb skier on the hill, she is an exceptional young adult off the hill. She is also a major asset to the Gaylord High School ski team because she motivates and inspires her peers. During dryland training, when Reagan was a sophomore with a hand injury from soccer, she looked at me and said, ‘I want to be the state champion, and champions need to work hard.’ She accomplished this goal last year at the 2018 state meet when she won the slalom title and placed second in GS. This year she will go into the 2019 state meet with another battle scar, a broken hand, but that won’t stop her one bit! I look forward to watching her effortlessly fly down the hill to another victory.”

Performance Point: “I had broken (the wrist) the Sunday the week before,” Olli said. “So I had tried to get a little bit used to it during the week once I got casted. I just tried to practice, and mostly my goal going into Regionals was just to try to ski clean. I wasn’t really aiming for a win that day. At that point it was still awkward-feeling because normally you’re used to having a lot of wrist motion for pole touching and getting out of the start gate, but that day I just had to go with what I had.”

Big Monday ahead: “I’m a little bit nervous just because I wish I was at full strength. There’s nothing I can do about it now, so I’m going to go forward and try to put my best skiing out there and work with what I have. I don’t know the amount of time it’s been affecting me right now, but as far as skiing itself now, I think I’m still in contention with all of those girls. It’s just a matter of getting my good skiing out. The starts at Boyne Mountain are a bit flatter, which will be tougher, so I’ll have to make up some time.”

I love it all: “I’ve always been a skier. I started skiing at the little hill in Gaylord when I was probably 2. My mom’s family is big on skiing, so I was always out there. I did a bunch of other sports when I was a kid; skiing has just always been what I wanted to be doing. I worked my way up in different programs, and I got here. … There are so many things I love about it. I love the way it feels going down the hill. It’s so different all the time – there’s not one course ever the same as the other. We’re always on different hills, and you have to adapt and learn to ski different places and in different ways. I love the atmosphere around it as well. You can make so many new friends. It’s a great feeling to be out there skiing … (and) I like the cold.”

Overseas slopes:  “I went to Austria this fall with a group from Traverse City, so I know a lot of girls from TC West and TC Central. It was great. The views out there were incredible, and the hills were a lot steeper, so that was a cool experience. And we were on a T-bar the whole time, so we just got lap after lap and we skied for so many hours.”

Setting up senior year: “I’m more of a go-with-the-flow kinda person. I want to try to do some bigger races in the FIS (International Ski Federation) part of the sport. As far as state and Regionals go, I would like to be back on top and in contention for titles. My goal for senior year, I guess, would be to be healthy, because it definitely helps.”

- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2018-19 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard recognizes a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Past 2018-19 honorees

February 14: Jake Stevenson, Traverse City Bay Reps hockey - Read
February 7: Molly Davis, Midland Dow basketball - Read
January 31:
Chris DeRocher, Alpena basketball - Read
January 24:
Imari Blond, Flint Kearsley bowling - Read
January 17: William Dunn, Quincy basketball - Read
November 29:
Dequan Finn, Detroit Martin Luther King football - Read
November 22: Paige Briggs, Lake Orion volleyball - Read
November 15:
Hunter Nowak, Morrice football - Read
November 8:
Jon Dougherty, Detroit Country Day soccer - Read
November 1:
Jordan Stump, Camden-Frontier volleyball - Read
October 25:
Danielle Staskowski, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep golf - Read
October 18:
Adam Bruce, Gladstone cross country - Read
October 11: Ericka VanderLende, Rockford cross country - Read
October 4:
Kobe Clark, Schoolcraft football - Read
September 27: Jonathan Kliewer, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern soccer - Read
September 20: Kiera Lasky, Bronson volleyball - Read
September 13: Judy Rector, Hanover-Horton cross country - Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Gaylord's Reagan Olli skies during her team's Division 2 Regional last week at Nub's Nob. (Middle) Olli won the giant slalom and also qualified for the Finals in the slalom. (Photos by RD Sports Photo.)

Notre Dame Prep Takes Back Team Title, Petoskey's Spence Sweeps Race Wins

By Jordan Puente
Special for

February 28, 2023

BOYNE FALLS — Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s girl ski team has dominated the slopes since 2016 and continued the trend Monday at Boyne Mountain.

The Irish placed first at the Division 2 Finals with a team combined score of 61. Petoskey finished runner-up with just four skiers to collect a team score of 87, and Great North Alpine finished third.

Senior Syndey Schulte was Notre Dame Prep’s top placer, finishing runner-up in slalom (1:09.19), and she was followed in that event by senior Peyton Schindler in fourth and senior Claire Kirchner in seventh. Kirchner was fourth in the giant slalom, and Schulte was seventh as the Irish placed four among the top 13.

“We had a great bunch of girls that skied well,” Norte Dame coach Craig McLeod said. “These girls show up to training every day and pay attention to what we’ve asked them, and they do it.”

Schindler has racked up tons of medals during her time at NDP, having helped the Irish win Division 2 championships during her freshmen and sophomore years before they finished sixth a year ago.

Notre Dame Prep’s Sydney Schulte caps her career with two more top-10 Finals finishes.“It’s nice to have new faces, and it’s cool to see all of our hard work come into culmination of this,” Schindler said.

McLeod couldn’t be more pleased with the way his team performed at its Regional and the Finals. As he talked about his team, he was emotional knowing what this win meant to the Irish.

“The girls have won everything they touched,” McLeod said. “I have an amazing group of senior girls, and I’m proud of all the things they have done.”

Petoskey senior Marley Spence swept the giant slalom (1:14.91) and slalom (1:06.78). Spence also won giant slalom and was second in slalom as a junior, and she became the 12th skier in Finals history to win girls giant slalom at least twice.

"I cried," Spence said when she found out she won. "I ran to my parents and shed a lot of tears.

"All the emotions come in here, and it's been building out for weeks, so I'm shocked but happy," she added.

Spence was one of the four skiers who helped her team to a podium finish. Before they found out they were runners-up, Spence didn't think they'd get a team win with just four skiers – but Petoskey defeated the odds.

Cadillac senior Georgette Sake finished seconds behind Spence in the giant slalom with a combined time of 1:15.65. Cadillac as a team finished third with multiple top-10 placers in giant slalom.

"I enjoyed my four years at Cadillac," Sake said. "I don't think of skiing as a sport. I think of it as a family. The ski community is so great and cool."

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Petoskey’s Marley Spence speeds through one of her runs on the way to winning both individual championships Monday. (Middle) Notre Dame Prep’s Sydney Schulte caps her career with two more top-10 Finals finishes. (Click for more later this week from Sports in MotionDivision 2.)