By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half
BOYNE FALLS – The Marquette girls ski team looks as if it is about to produce another dynasty like it did during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Marquette won six MHSAA Finals titles from 1999-2004, and it is halfway to matching that total after winning its third straight Division 1 championship Monday at Boyne Mountain.
The Redettes finished first with 48 points, ahead of the 76 produced by second-place Traverse City West. Traverse City Central was third at 109, Milford fourth at 160 and Clarkston finished fifth with a final total of 172.
Leading the way for Marquette was sophomore Ainsley Kirk, who didn’t arrive at Boyne Mountain until Sunday night because she was home attempting to qualify for a USSA meet next weekend in Colorado, which she did successfully.
Kirk won the slalom with a time of 1:07.81 and took third in the giant slalom with a time of 1:09.53.
The fact that Kirk was able to finish was an accomplishment, given numerous top skiers fell on the first run of the slalom due to the slushy conditions on what was an unusually sunny and mild day for a Finals event, with temperatures in the low to mid 40s for most of the meet.
“It’s not my favorite,” Kirk said of the soft conditions. “The first run was still actually pretty firm because it was in the shade. In my second run, I had to make some line adjustments because of how soft it was.”
Kirk’s teammate Sadah Scheidt was second in slalom with a time of 1:09.25, Emma Dutmers of Traverse City Central was third at 1:10.30, Hannah Schramski of Traverse City West finished fourth at 1:11.10 and Elle Warren of Traverse City West was fifth with a time of 1:12.84.
“The girls got second at Regionals, and the girls had a rough day in the (giant slalom),” Marquette coach Dan Menze said. “We came into the GS and we skied much better and towards where we thought we should ski. We knew coming into the slalom that we were lucky to have talented skiers in that event.”
Skiers from lower Michigan dominated the top eight in the giant slalom, with six hailing from Oakland County.
Olivia Weymouth of Bloomfield Hills Marian highlighted that group, winning the individual title with a time of 1:08.11.
“With GS, I find it more fun I guess,” said Weymouth, who also skis the slalom but didn’t finish her first race in that event. “I put in a lot of work and dedication, and it was cool to see it show through with the GS title.”
Kate Bridges of Birmingham United was second at 1:08.40, Kaylee Richardson of Rochester Adams was fourth at 1:09.45, Grace Stetsko was fifth with a time of 1:09.53, Morgan Watts of Milford was sixth at 1:09.67 and Grace Dillon of Bloomfield Hills was eighth with a time of 1:10.45.
PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette's Ainsley Kirk races on her way to a first-place finish in the slalom. (Middle) Marian's Olivia Weymouth clears a gate during her a giant slalom run. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
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.
“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."
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 Motion – Division 2.)