Compiled by Noah Thomas
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep junior
Family makes everything better.
As a part of the Notre Dame Prep ski team, we have a total of seven pairs of siblings racing for the team. Due to this family dynamic, the team as a whole is not only close, but we are a family, even to those who are not technically related to anyone on the team.
The aspect of family and unity is huge for us, and it makes us better as a team. The siblings make the team more cohesive, openly honest, and willing to talk to any other team member.
Each pair of siblings has written a short note about their skiing experiences as siblings, and what skiing means to them as a whole:
Noah and Nina Thomas
We have skied recreationally for almost eight years now together, but this is the first year Nina has raced on the team. Noah started racing last year, his junior year, and influenced Nina, who is a sophomore, to join the team. We have skied in both southern and northern Michigan together for a long time, which makes the sport also so special. We had raced NASTAR before we even knew high school racing was a thing. When we came to Notre Dame Prep, we found a sport we could do together in spite of us also loving to ski.
We ski because we love sport, the memories, and especially the team. Being siblings together on the team really brought us even closer than we were before, giving us a common interest to enjoy not only together but with the team as well. We both plan to continue skiing in the future, based on the memories made with each other and with the rest of the siblings and team.
Noah and Hailey Schindler
We both joined the ski team because we love the sport. Right when we could walk our parents put us on skis and we loved it from the very beginning. Noah is a senior and has been a part of the team for all four years, and Hailey is a freshman. We both joined our freshman year and Hailey plans on continuing it all throughout high school.
Participating in a sport with a sibling has been so special; with both of our busy schedules we can count on ski practice to see one another and have a good time.
Sydney and Jack Lintol
Sydney and Jack Lintol are a senior and freshman, respectively, at Notre Dame Prep.
Both sister and brother began skiing when they were about 2 years old and enjoyed the sport in both southern and northern Michigan with family and friends when they were young.
Eventually they started challenging each other in NASTAR courses to add some excitement to ski weekends. When Jack was in fourth grade, he decided to join a USSA club team that trained and raced USSA races. Syd did not want to do it because it seemed like too much of a commitment. By the end of that season her brother was beating her handily and she decided to join the team and learn to race. Sydney earned all-state honors her sophomore and junior years. She hopes to earn it one last time. Both kids love the sport and were very excited to join their high school team as freshmen. The added challenge and camaraderie of team skiing has made ski racing even more fun.
Katelyn and Meghan Kozole
Katelyn (senior) and Meghan (sophomore) love skiing and are thankful for the opportunities it has given them. When they were younger Katelyn and Meghan both did NASTAR, and their parents thought it would be cool if they started to take the sport as a learning opportunity. They both started competitively racing when they were young by accident when their mom signed them up for USSA. After years of training for club it only felt right that Katelyn started to race in high school. Meghan started high school racing following in Katelyn footsteps in hopes to win a state championship.
Katelyn and Meghan achieved all-state honors last season, and have been training and studying hard to earn it once again. Doing ski team allows Katelyn and Meghan to spend quality time together through traveling, practicing and racing.
Alex and Ethan Kocheril
My brother (Ethan) and I (Alex) joined the ski team because we both enjoyed skiing and wanted to try racing. I was the first person to learn how to ski in my family, so my brother and I started off skiing together, as we would often ski without our parents. Every time we went up north, we would usually ski together, or even if one of us was going to our local ski mountain.
However, we skied together less often as we got older and our interests changed. This year, we had the opportunity to be on the team at the same time, and it brought us closer together as siblings.
Sabrina and Julia Fitzgerald
My sister and I joined the ski team because we have always been skiing and thought that racing would be fun. I have been skiing on the team for two years and this is my sister’s first year because she is a freshman. Skiing has always been a big part of our lives; we have gone up north every winter to ski since we were very little. When we both started skiing, we were nervous because we have never done racing before, just recreational skiing. Once we were at practice and starting to race, we realized how fun it was. We hope to be a part of the team throughout high school.
Ian and Claudia Kaiser
My sister (Claudia) and I (Ian) have really only shared one thing in common, and that’s our love for ski. Going out west to Colorado or Utah to ski was always the time we got along the best.
Watching my 10th grade sister ski as a 12th grader is really awesome. I get to watch her progress through different stages of her skill set as a ski racer. My sister and I both began ski racing as ninth graders but we had been skiing since we were little kids, so transitioning from free skiing to racing was different and somewhat challenging. It’s definitely something I hope my sister appreciates and continues to succeed in after I leave, just like I felt my four years on the team.
Each mini article was written by the siblings together, in order to show their love for the sport and the amount of love and value the team has for one another. The amount of positivity each pair has brought forth for the team to enjoy is what makes the Notre Dame Preparatory ski team the team it is today.
As well, the team as a whole would like to thank every single parent who has been a part of this team, and made all we have done possible.
PHOTO: Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s seven pairs of ski team siblings. (Photo submitted by the Notre Dame Prep ski 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.)