TC Central Takes Back Top Spot

February 26, 2013

By John Raffel
Special for Second Half

BOYNE FALLS – Traverse City Central coach Jerry Stanek just smiled when he was congratulated after his girls ski team won the MHSAA Division 1 championship Monday at Boyne Mountain.

“I didn't do anything,” he grinned. “I just watched.”

After five straight second-place finishes at Finals, the Trojans hoisted the championship trophy for the first time since 2005.

“I think the girls got the monkey off their backs for a while, and hopefully we can keep it going,” Stanek said.

“The key was belief from the girls that they could do what they did. After you finish second for so many years, and that happened to us in the 1990s, it takes a while. But when you win, it takes the monkey off your back and makes it easier. We try to prepare them the best we can, and hopefully they perform the way they should.”

Senior Monica Hessler of Traverse City West, last winter's team champ, won the girls slalom race while Mallory Slicker of Walled Lake Central prevailed in the giant slalom.

TC Central had scores of 38 in the slalom and 43 in the giant slalom for an 81 total. Walled Lake Central was second at 56 and 36 for 92 while Marquette was third at 69 and 44 for 113, Birmingham Marian fourth at 54 and 62 for 116 and Traverse City West fifth at 67 and 61 for 128.

Rochester Adams finished sixth at 170, Fenton/Linden seventh at 203, Walled Lake Northern eighth at 273 and Brighton ninth at 283.

“I would think that we were probably favored coming in,” Stanek said “We had some problems in the slalom, and it wasn't our best performance of the year. But I think the state championship reflects that when teams get together and have to compete. I was proud of our girls, the way they came back and stayed with it even though after our first run in slalom, we could have been out of the race for the day.”

Hessler competed on last year's team champion for TC West. Her previous best individual finish was a sixth in the slalom.

“I knew I had a shot at it,” Hessler said. “There's probably eight girls who also had the same chance. We've all been back and forth all season.”

Shannon Weaver led the TCC effort with seconds in both the slalom and giant slalom.

In the girls GS, Cassidy Klein of TCC was 11th, Paige Phannenstiel was 14th, Molly Whiting 21st, and Devon Dotterrer 26th.

In the girls slalom, TCC' netted an 11th place from Madison Ostergren, while Molly Whiting was 13th, Dotterrer 15th, Phannenstiel 18th and Cassidy Klein 38th.

Hessler knew what was at stake, but said she still simply wanted to have fun. She also saved her best for last.

“I knew it was my last race, so I wanted to give everything possible,” she said. “I knew it was going to be a close race, which it was.

 “We're a young team this year,” Hessler added. “Our other girls are young, and they're great skiers, but they're young and definitely are going to be a team to watch for the next couple years.”

Shannon Weaver of TC Central was second in the slalom at 1:05.77 followed by defending champ Kelsey Griffin of White Lake Lakeland at 1:06.84, Slicker fourth at 1:09.03, Hanna Johnson of Marquette at 1:09.89, Haley Goeckel of Marian at 1:10.57, Hannah Brassell at 1:10.65, Kathryn Streng of Marina at 1:12.59, Lauren Rhoads of Fenton at 1:13.43 and Lauren Henry of Adams at 1:13.56 to round out the top 10.

Hessler will look back at the 2012-13 as having exceeded her expectations. “This is unreal,” she smiled.

Those sentiments were shared by GS champ Slicker, a senior. She was third last year in giant slalom.

Slicker was coming off a torn meniscus in her right knee. It was her first time on skis in a few weeks

“I really didn't think I was going to be able to,” she said. “I had been on crutches.”

Weaver also was runner-up in the giant slalom at 1:03.31, followed by Abigail Ellis of Kenowa Hills/Lowell/Comstock Park at 1:03.88, Whitney Stilwell of Marquette at 1:04.4, Morgan Culp of TC West in 1:04.51, Hanna Johnson of Marquette in 1:04.60, Haley Goeckel and Kathryn Streng of Birmingham Marian in 1:04.65 and 1:04.67, Hessler in 1:04.75 and Taylor Krumm of Walled Lake Central in 1:05.01.

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PHOTOS: (Top) Traverse City Central celebrates its first MHSAA team championship since 2005. (Middle) Marquette's Sam Zeigler races during Monday's Finals. (Click to see more at

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.)