Skiing Finals: Downhill Champions Rise

February 29, 2012

The MHSAA Skiing Finals frequently are dominated by teams that have built stacks of championships over the years.

But occasionally, a new contender enters the mix -- and dominates like the Clarkston boys did Monday at the Division 1 Final at Nub's Nob.

The Wolves moved up one spot from their 2011 runner-up finish to claim their first MHSAA team skiing championship with 81 points, 38 ahead of runner-up Marquette.

Clarkston placed three among the top 13 in the slalom and four among the top 17 in the giant slalom. Derek Vanitallie finished fourth in both the slalom (1:14.91) and giant slalom (49.47), while teammate Grant Huber was 13th in the slalom (1:18.79) and fifth in the giant (49.54).

The Wolves were the only first-time team champion at the four boys and girls Finals this season. But all four meets had their share of storylines:

  • The Harbor Springs girls also moved up from a 2011 runner-up finish to claim the Division 2 team championship at Boyne Highlands, their first MHSAA title since 2004. The Rams finished 20 points ahead of reigning champion Petoskey, led by Rose Pellegrom's sixth place in the giant slalom and 10th in the slalom.
  • Manistee/Traverse City St. Francis' Nathalie Kenny, Maple City Glen Lake's Christina Rennie and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood's Mandy Haferkorn made their ways to the top of both Division 2 race results. Kenny became the ninth girl to win multiple MHSAA giant slalom championships by finishing first with a two-run 59.79, while Rennie became the fifth girl to win multiple MHSAA slalom titles by taking first in that race with a 1:12.16. Kenny was second in the slalom, Rennie was fourth in the giant, and Haferkorn was second in the giant and third in the slalom.
  • The Traverse City West girls edged Big North Conference rival Traverse City Central by three points to win the Division 1 Final with 70 total. The win was West's first since 2007, while Central finished Division 1 runner-up for the fifth straight season. Lili Lockwood led West with a fifth place in the giant slalom (53.46) and a fourth in the slalom (1:15.59).
  • Five others joined Lockwood among contenders in both Division 1 races, including a trio of individual qualifiers. Lake Orion individual qualifier Marie Dohm took first in the giant slalom (52.75) and seventh in the slalom. Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills/Lowell/Comstock Park's Abi Ellis was second in the slalom and seventh in the giant, while Marquette's Whitney Stilwell was second in the giant and fifth in the slalom -- Ellis and Stilwell also were individual Finals qualifiers. White Lake Lakeland's Kelsey Griffin was the individual champion in the slalom (1:12.95) and was eighth in the giant. Bloomfield Hills Marian's Kelly Lunghamer finished her stellar high school career by taking third in the slalom and sixth in the giant as her team finished third overall.
  • Saginaw Heritage's Bobby Leddy had qualified for the Finals all four years of high school, with a high finish of seventh. But this time, the Hawks' individual qualifier swept the Division 1 individual races, finishing in 1:11.67 to win the slalom and 48.72 to win the giant. Traverse City West's Ryan Ness took second in the slalom and third in the giant.
  • The Petoskey boys repeated as Division 2 team champions with 66 points, 20 fewer than Cranbrook-Kingswood. Gunner Lundteigen took fourth in the slalom and teammate Noah Honaker was fifth in the giant for the Northmen.
  • Four individuals dominated the individual standings in Division 2. Maple City Glen Lake's Thomas Waning won the giant slalom (58.86) and finished second in the slalom, while Manistee/St. Francis' Stephen Siddall was first in the slalom (1:13.09) and fourth in the giant. Manistee/St. Francis' Cole McCardel finished third in both races, and Cranbrook-Kingswood's John Briggs was runner-up in the giant and eighth in the slalom. 

Click for full Division 1 boys and girls results, Division 2 boys and Division 2 girls.

PHOTOS: (Top) Clarkston's Grant Huber and (middle) Traverse City West's Lili Lockwood. See more photos at High School Sports Scene.

Petoskey Adds 2023 Team, Individual Championships to Finals Dominance

By Jordan Puente
Special for

February 28, 2023

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.

Houghton’s Eli Heathman eyes the path ahead during one of his races. "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.

Click for full results.

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.)