Redettes Repeat, Set Stage for More

February 27, 2017

By James Cook
Special for Second Half


How many more to go?

Marquette went back-to-back with Division 1 girls skiing titles Monday at Nub’s Nob in Harbor Springs, and the Redettes’ young roster could add to that total in the near future.

“We won’t be losing anybody, so I really hope we will,” said junior Sadah Scheidt, who won the slalom crown for the second straight season. “We didn’t know if we were going to win this year or last year. (When they announce it), your heart jumps out of your chest.”

Marquette won the championship with a roster devoid of a single senior.

“They’ll be back next year, looking to repeat for sure,” first-year coach Dan Menze said.

The Redettes have two juniors, and the rest of the squad is freshmen and sophomores.

Menze said there was some pressure to keep the Marquette boys championship streak going – which he did – but the stress was just as heavy on the girls side, if not more.

“There was definitely more pressure on the girls team,” Menze said. “We weren’t quite as deep. They really came out and skied awesome. We had some bobbles, but most teams did today. We just had less.”

Menze took over for Marty Paulsen after guiding the Great Lakes Ski Academy.

“The main things were administrative on my behalf,” Menze said. “The coaching aspect, I feel I’ve done well throughout. I’ve had a great mentor (in Wendy Maas) to help me all along the way.”

Scheidt led a Marquette effort that witnessed the Redettes emerge with four first-team all-staters.

But when all was said and done, the girls didn’t copy Marquette’s boys team by showing up for the outdoors awards ceremony in shorts.

“We have a little bit more dignity than that,” Scheidt joked. “We face-palmed. We were like, ‘Oh, no.’ Typical senior boys.”

Scheidt claimed her second slalom title by more than 2.5 seconds over the two combined runs. She had the best time in each run, and her second shaved three hundredths of second off the first.

“I definitely prefer slalom over GS,” said Scheidt, who was 23rd in GS.

Ainsley Kirk earned all-state honors with a fourth-place slalom and third in GS. Jacey Johnson was ninth in slalom and 16th in GS, while Natalie Robinia was 17th in GS.

Marquette claimed the Division 1 girls championship with 73 points to Traverse City Central’s 95. Traverse City West was not far behind in third with 98, moving up a place from last season’s finish.

"A strong third," West head coach Ed Johnson said. "It was close. They won the slalom and went into the GS feeling pretty strong, but Central ended up edging us. It was fun to see the two Traverse City teams battling it out that close. That was exciting."

“We were hoping to finish in the top 3,” Traverse City Central senior Maggie Dutmers said. “We didn’t really know, because the top three teams have been very close in past competitions. We were hoping for a trophy. We were hoping for the first, but very, very happy with second.”

The Trojans finished runner-up for the seventh time in the last nine years.

Dutmers finish fourth in GS and sixth in slalom to earn first-team all-state honors in both disciplines.

Fenton’s Zoe Weinberg, skiing as an individual qualifier, won the giant slalom championship to end her prep career with a championship effort.

Weinberg trailed Bloomfield Hills Marian sophomore Olivia Weymouth after the first GS run by nearly a tenth of a second, but trimmed 1.36 seconds off her second run to pass Weymouth, who ended up second.

“Winning was something I just wanted to do,” Weinberg said. “My second run was one of my best runs of the season. It was intense, waiting to see.”

Weinberg had hoped to do better in the morning’s slalom session, but made up for it in the afternoon.

“I was excited GS came through,” Weinberg said. “It’s a good way to go out.”

Weinberg finishes her high school skiing career with seven first-team all-state finishes.

She earned all-state all four years in giant slalom and three more times in slalom, capturing a championship in each.

Weinberg won the slalom title as a sophomore and was runner-up last year. She had a runner-up GS finish as a sophomore and third last season, adding a sixth-place GS medal as a freshman.

“It’s a good number,” Weinberg said. “It was really exciting to go out that way.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette's Ainsley Kirk juts past a gate during the Division 1 Finals on Monday at Nub's Nob. (Middle) Fenton's Zoe Weinberg caps an impressive career with another strong set of races. (Photos by James Cook.)

Petoskey's Spence Caps Ski Career Among State's All-Time Racing Greats

By Tom Spencer
Special for

March 6, 2024

Let’s be clear. Marley Spence is the most decorated racer in Petoskey High School girls skiing history.

Northern Lower PeninsulaBut her favorite memory from the sport is not winning one of her five MHSAA Finals individual championships.

It is helping the Northmen earn Division 2 runners-up honor her junior year when Petoskey had just the minimum – four skiers — in the competition won by Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

Spence has to admit the odds were stacked against the Northman that day on Boyne Mountain And to top it off, it is a memory that is connected to her middle school days with senior classmate and all-stater Sydney Hoffman.

“It was me and Sydney and two other seniors, and that was our entire team,” Spence recalled this week. “We had to do everything right to place second, and we did that that day and we were super thrilled. That was the highlight of my career.”

Quite a statement for the perennial Big North, Regional and Finals champion in the slalom and giant slalom. She has been a top-10 finisher at the Finals going back to her freshman year.  

“Marley has sort of come along in an era when we have not had as many female athletes in the program,” said Ben Crockett, who with sister Jennifer Crockett coaches the Petoskey ski teams. “She should be proud of the fact that a pretty small team was able to have collective success at the state meet.”

All of the time spent on those powdery white hills since the age of 2 has certainly paid off.

She was the runner-up in slalom and 10th in giant slalom as a freshman. As a sophomore, her accomplishments ranged from Big North Conference and Regional titles in both the slalom and giant slalom to a Finals championship in the GS. She also captured runner-up in the slalom race to finish that winter.

As a junior, she won both the giant slalom and slalom at the Finals while leading Petoskey to the second-place team finish.

And this year, she did it again. Petoskey did not qualify as a team, but she and Hoffman did. Spence and Hoffman have been teammates since middle school, and they both picked up all-state honors this year. Hoffman placed in the top 10 of both the slalom and giant slalom Feb. 26 at Nub’s Nob.

“It helps to train with my teammate because we’re all on one team and we compete against each other and (are) pushing each other,” Spence said. “We watch each other and can all learn from our mistakes and watch we do well.”

This year, Spence put together a time of 51.17 in the giant slalom, then 1:12.19 in the slalom, holding off some tough competition from Cadillac's Onalee Wallace in both races. 

Spence’s performance at Nub’s Nob allowed her to tie Eric Behan for the most titles by a Petoskey skier and set the girls record at the school. Behan collected his fifth in 2005.

Spencer stands atop the medal stand after sweeping the slalom and giant slalom this season.Spence also tied the MHSAA record for career Finals titles in Division 2, Class B or the previous open class, matching the mark of Christy Salonen of West Iron County from 1993-96. 

"From her freshman year on the team, Marley has been serious and committed to high school competition. At times, she has dominated high school racing, yet she is always respectful of her competitors. I’m very proud of her for exhibiting that character trait," said Jennifer Crockett, who similarly graduated from Petoskey in 1995 as one of the program's most accomplished skiers. "This season she had teammates who were not as experienced as Marley, and she really stepped up and took on a leadership role, helping them with course inspections and race day timeline management."

Spence had the luxury, and challenge, throughout her career of skiing against what many would consider the toughest high school competition in Michigan with Petoskey part of the BNC.

This year, Traverse City West’s girls repeated as Division 1 champions. Cadillac won the Division 2 girls team title for the second time in three seasons.

Spence intends to compete this spring in sprints for the Petoskey track team. She is thinking of attending Montana State University next fall and ski for the Bobcats. 

Recently labeled one of the best places for college skiers by POWDER magazine, MSU is recognized nationally and internationally for its snow science research.

“I might be going out to Montana State, and if I do then I’ll definitely ski,” she said. “It is very hard to ski in college – more than any other sport – because they bring in all the Europeans and they take the spots, but I am going to strive for that.”

As she wraps up her high school career, Spence reflected on the challenges of being a high school skier and noted slalom is her favorite race.

“I would say slalom because it is high tempo, and you have to think more about it,” she said. “It is more strategic.

“Sometimes it is hard to stay focused when you have so much going on with friends and other things like parents there, coaches there,” she continued. “Trying to keep a routine every race is what has helped me succeed.”

Part of that routine, as Jennifer Crockett noted, is inspecting the course as a team – something Spence will miss as it allowed her to mentor her younger teammates. But her impact on Petoskey's program, and high school skiing statewide, will not be forgotten.

“Marley has five individual state championships and there are only two other individuals in the history of skiing in Michigan to make that accomplishment,” Ben Crockett said. “Any review of the history would have to include her as one of the best to ever ski at the high school level.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Petoskey's Marley Spence skis a slalom run during the Feb. 26 Division 2 Finals at Nub's Nob. (Middle) Spence stands atop the medal stand after sweeping the slalom and giant slalom this season. (Photo by Sarah Shepherd.)