TC Central Repeats in D1, While Adams & Marquette Celebrate Winners

By Andrew Rosenthal
Special for Second Half

February 28, 2022

BOYNE FALLS — If Rochester Adams sophomore Katie Fodale was going to win a Division 1 Finals title this year, she didn’t think it would be in slalom.

Last year’s giant slalom runner-up showed off on the other side of the mountain Monday. Fodale won slalom with the only sub 31-second run of the day at Boyne Mountain for her first Finals championship of her early ski career.

“I probably skied like the best slalom of my life today,” Fodale said. “I think I was super aggressive. I was trying to go as fast as I could. I wasn’t worried about falling. I think that’s like a big thing because if you’re going to ski cautiously then it’s just not going to be your fastest. I didn't; I just went as fast as I could.”

Fodale managed to top last year’s slalom runner-up, Traverse City Central senior Elle Craven, after Craven hiked on her first run, but the one damper on the day didn’t seem to hurt the perennial state-contending Trojans much.

Craven medaled in GS with a team-leading fourth-place run, and Central clinched back-to-back team titles after last year’s group won its first since 2013. It was the Trojans’ 13th Finals championship in girls skiing.

“Each one is just as special as the other, for sure,” Central coach Amy Kudary said. “This one is so special to me because we both came into the program at the same time. I started four years ago when this group was freshmen. We’ve all grown together over the last four years. We’ve all changed, grown and gotten better at everything we do.”

Kudary took over for longtime — and successful — Central ski coach Jerry Stanek in 2018-19, and he’s been an assistant with the program since. She also skied for him when the Trojans won the Open Class Finals championship in 1989.

“For him to be back coaching with me now and winning with him is one of the most special things in my mind,” she said.

For the Trojans, senior Maddy Cox went home with twin all-state honors, finishing fifth in GS and sixth in slalom. Avery Sill finished eighth in GS, and Pearl Hale, Sill and Lilly Kuberski all took top-15 spots in slalom.

“It’s bittersweet because it’s coming to an end, but I’m so happy with how I was able to race today and how I was able to help the team,” said Cox, who was all-state in GS as a junior.

Marquette skiingCox joined Charlie Schulz from Traverse City West (10th in slalom, sixth in GS) with two medals. Lila Warren (10th in GS) and Olivia Bageris (seventh in slalom) had all-state finishes for the Titans. Dillyn Mohr and Ellie Gruber were top-15 in slalom. Gruber was 18th in GS. 

The Titans, who ended the day runners-up, went into the lunch break with a team lead and landed four in the top 15 for the girls slalom. West has won three Finals championships and now two runner-up trophies.

“For the girls, this is incredibly exciting because they weren't even at this meet last year,” West coach Ed Johnson said. “We just saw at the beginning of the year that there was that much potential with the girls and how they were skiing together and their consistency. We just knew if we could keep building on that throughout the season they could probably get to this point.”

Marquette didn’t make an appearance as a team, but that didn’t stop the lone Upper Peninsula school in Division 1 from bringing a championship back over the Mackinac Bridge.

Senior Maddy Stern landed on the podium twice, winning the GS title and earning all-state in slalom finishing eighth.

“I just was able to stick to it and carve all my turns well,” Stern said. “I could just carry my speed from the steeps to the flats pretty good.”

She and Anna Grezlak represented Marquette at the Girls Finals. Like the two Traverse City schools, Marquette is a rightful ski dynasty of its own, having won five of the last seven Division 1 championships.

“I really wish my team was here to support and so I can support them, but I really am having a great time just showing what Marquette can do,” Stern said. “We did have a tough season this year, but it was a great way to go out.” 

She’s off to represent the U.P. some more. In four days, Stern travels to Attitash, New Hampshire to race with USSA Team Michigan.

“I did a lot of training this year just preparing for this day,” Stern said.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Rochester Adams’ Katie Fodale cuts past a gate during a slalom run Monday at Boyne Mountain. (Middle) Marquette’s Maddy Stern speeds toward the finish of the giant slalom. (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."

Click for full results.

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.)