Sophomore-Paced Cadillac Arrives, Earns 1st Finals Title Since 1990

By James Cook
Special for

February 28, 2022

BELLAIRE — Thirty-two years. 

Cadillac's girls skiing team made 1990 a distant memory Monday, capturing the school's first MHSAA Finals team championship in any sport since the Vikings girls skiers won in 1990. 

They prevailed by a slim four-point margin, unleashing a storm of screams and hugs when East Grand Rapids was named runner-up at the Division 2 Finals at Schuss Mountain in Bellaire. 

"It's amazing," said Vikings sophomore Onalee Wallis, who placed fourth in slalom and 11th in giant slalom. "It's so exciting to be able to do that. And we had such a young team." 

Cadillac's top six skiers included only one senior, Emily Mason. Wallis and fellow sophomore Avery Meyer helped lead the team, with Meyer placing fifth in slalom and 10th in giant slalom to earn first-team all-state in both disciplines. Junior Georgette Sake took 15th in slalom to earn second-team all-state. Cadillac's other two skiers in the Finals were sophomore Mairyn Kinnie and junior Kinsey Cornwell. 

"We've got a young team," Meyer said. "A lot ahead of us." 

Cadillac won with 104 points, going into the afternoon GS session with a 14-point lead on Houghton. East Grand Rapids (110) and Harbor Springs (112) jumped past the Gremlins (121) in the slalom. Petoskey finished fifth with 128 and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep sixth at 129, with just 25 points separating first from sixth. 

"We knew we had to all put down four solid runs," Meyer said. "We knew we had to ski well, but we thought that we could do it." 

Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood (233) placed seventh, Bloomfield Hills Marian (239) eighth and Grand Rapids Christian (260) ninth. 

Petoskey skiing"It was on the radar, and we didn't know when it would happen or if it would happen," Cadillac head coach James Netzley said. "But we didn't make any big mistakes, and that's really what made that small separation between us and the other teams. We had almost no errors at all today." 

Being such a young team, the Vikings knew they were talented but weren’t taking their championship potential for granted.

"We were hoping to," Wallis said. "We really tried our best and wanted to win this. We didn't really expect to, though." 

Meyer said they hope to keep this going in future years, with almost all the team returning next season. 

"Our team chemistry is great," Meyer said. "We just all get along so well. And it's so fun." 

Petoskey sophomore Marley Spence won the giant slalom championship, finishing second in slalom behind Notre Dame's Sydney Schulte and posting the top second-run time at 32.68 seconds. 

"Slalom was a little disappointing," Spence said. "I really wanted to come up with a first, but second is good, too." 

Lake Charlevoix's Avery Kita placed 16th in GS and 19th in slalom. Petoskey's Cassidy Whitener added to a strong showing by that team, placing eighth in GS and sixth in slalom to earn first-team all-state in both. 

Cadillac's boys team won state crowns in 1980 and 1978. The girls team also won in 1977, 1978 and 1983, with eight runner-up finishes from 1975-89. 

"I thought Cadillac, all of them really skied really well," Spence said. "So proud of them. I thought Notre Dame Prep would come out on top, but two of them fell today. That's what cost them." 

Petoskey was set back last week when Allison Goelz was injured in the Regional. 

"We had one of our girls get hurt last week, so that kind of made us fall down a bit, but I feel like everyone skied how they needed to," Spence said. "We all came out and had a good positive attitude, and I feel like we all skied our best and that's all we could have really done."

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PHOTOS (Top) Cadillac celebrates its Division 2 championship Monday at Schuss Mountain. (Middle) Petoskey’s Marley Spence passes a gate during a slalom run. (Click for more from Sports in Motion.)

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."

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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.)