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.)

Cadillac Girls Take Back Title, Petoskey's Spence Completes Legendary Career

By Jordan Puente
Special for

February 27, 2024

HARBOR SPRINGS — The Cadillac girls ski team knew it couldn’t sneak up on anyone at Monday’s Division 2 Final, and rose to the challenge.

Cadillac walked away from Nub's Nob Ski Area and Resort in Harbor Springs with its second championship in three years and fourth-straight top-three finish. The Vikings finished with a combined team score of 72. Harbor Springs finished runner-up with a combined team score of 91.

Mattawan and Paw Paw placed third (107), Bloomfield Hills Marian finished fourth (168) and Norway finished fifth (171).

"A couple of years ago, we snuck up and got a ski title, but this year, we had more of a target on our backs knowing we had a pretty good team to do something special," Cadillac head coach James Netzley said. "It was a little nervous feeling today because of the start."

Netzley said his skiers made it a goal to repeat what they did in 2022 after finishing third last year.

"We said last night that it was going to take a complete team effort if we wanted to do something special today," Netzley said. "That came true, and we relied on every kid on the team."

Cadillac celebrates its second Finals team championship over the last three seasons. The Vikings started shaky at the slalom with a couple of falls, but in the end, several skiers pulled through. Senior Onalee Wallis led the Vikings with second-place finishes in the slalom and giant slalom. Wallis finished the slalom with a combined time of 1:12.63 and the giant slalom with a combined time of 51.67.

Wallis's teammate, senior Avery Meyer, finished third in the slalom with a combined time of 1:16.76. Great North Alpine's Grace Rowe finished fourth with a combined time of 1:17.46.

Rochester Adams' Katie Fodale finished third in the giant slalom (52.43), Meyer placed fourth (53.39), and Emma Borgula placed fifth in the giant slalom with a combined time of 53.97.

"They are pretty special kids," Netzley said about Meyer and Wallis. "Both have been first-team all-state for four years in a row, and gotten a top-10 finish since their freshmen year. Not many kids can do that by the time they come in as freshmen and cap off their senior year with outstanding performances."

Petoskey didn't have the outing it had hoped for, but senior Marley Spence stamped herself as one of the best high school athletes in the state after walking away with her fifth-straight D2 individual Finals medal after placing first in both the slalom and giant slalom. Spence finished the slalom with a combined time of 1:12.19 and giant slalom with a combined time of 51.17.

Northmen boys coach Ben Crockett, who leads the program alongside his sister and girls coach Jennifer Crockett, found no disagreement in naming Spence as one of the best individual athletes to come out of Petoskey, let alone the state.

"We've been trying to dig into the history books in Michigan, and she is definitely at the top of her group historically of anybody who has competed in a sport," Ben Crockett said. "She is the best in Michigan, and there is no question about it."

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PHOTOS (Top) Petoskey’s Marley Spence races past a gate during the Division 2 giant slalom Monday. (Middle) Cadillac celebrates its second Finals team championship over the last three seasons. (Photos by Sarah Shepherd. Click for all photos; more will be added throughout this week.)