BY DAN STICKRADT
MARQUETTE — Birmingham Marian became a first-time repeat winner out of Oakland County and Clarkston showcased its best season in school history, as teams from Southeastern Michigan fared extremely well at Monday’s Division 1 skiing state finals at Marquette Mountain.
Traverse City Central captured the boys crown with 63 points, with Clarkston finishing an all-time best second with 81 points. The Wolves, who have finished third on more than one occasion within the past 20 years, became the fourth straight boys team from Southeastern Michigan to finish second in Division 1, as Grand Blanc also reached that feat last February, with Waterford United (2009) and Birmingham Brother Rice (2008) also finishing in the runner-up slot in recent years.
Lake Orion’s boys also finished second in 2002
Brother Rice is still the only boys team from Southeastern Michigan to win a state title, with the Warriors winning the D-1 crown in 2007. Brother Rice also finished second back in 1988 when the state tournament was an open division.
Traverse City West was third this year with 100 points, while Marquette (119) and Grand Blanc (174.5) rounded out the top five in the boys team standings. Brother Rice claimed sixth (190.5), followed by Novi Detroit Catholic Central (194), Lake Orion (276) and Brighton (312).
“They did well,” offered Clarkston coach Mike Foyteck. “I wasn’t surprised. We had Grant Huber fall down and hiked and we still finished second. Traverse City Central had a guy have that had a problem, but it didn’t affect them much. It’s rare to have a team have a perfect race, with no hikes falls or any type of a problem. I’ve never seen perfect race except for Traverse City West in 2006. Usually, even the best teams have problems on the hill.”
Marian edged Traverse City Central 70-76 for the girls championship, which is the first Southeastern Michigan Ski League team to win back-to-back state titles in Class A/Division 1. In fact, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Class B-C-D state title in 2006 is the only other girls team champion from Oakland County or the entire four-division SEMSL since the inception of the state tournament in 1975.
Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood finished second in 2003 at the B-C-D finals.
Marquette finished third with 83 points, as only 13 points separated the top three teams in the girls standings. Walled Lake Central finished fourth with 136 points, the Vikings’ best-ever finish, while Traverse City West was fifth (141).
Walled Lake Northern claimed the sixth position with 169 points, with Fenton (242), Brighton (289) and Hartland (324) following suit.
In the boys meet, Catholic Central’s Damon Rottermond won the giant slalom with a two-run time of 55.20, just ahead of Marquette’s Joey Vermeulen (55.25). Traverse City West’s Ryan Ness (55.66), Traverse City Central’s Clark Phelps (55.75) and Connor Cloetingh of Saginaw Heritage was fifth (56.19).
Clarkston’s Gant Huber (sixth), Brent Vanitallie (10th), Ryan Callahan (14th) and Alex McIntosh (16th) all finished in the top-20 in the GS for the Wolves. Lance Holbecke also claimed 26th in the same event.
Last season, Clarkston finished ninth at state and made the leap to second despite no seniors this season.
“We finished last basically last year in the state finals. We didn’t ski all that well and most of these guys had not skied at a state finals before,” noted Foyteck. “This year we were experienced and the best thing about it is we don’t lose anybody for next year, plus we are bringing in a really good skier (who is eighth grade).
“It’s nice to be rewarded for all of the hard work these kids have put in,” said Foyteck. “We have had a lot of third and fourth-place finishes at the state meet over the years with the boys and girls and this is the first time that Clarkston has come home with a trophy.”
Eric Aird of Rochester Adams finished 33d and Steve Ward was 35th.
Lake Orion, which joined Clarkston as the teams from the www.northoaklandsports.com coverage area at the finals, was paced by Ricky Mackowski (31st), Michael Roberts (33rd) and Justin Klaus (39th), who all finished in the top-20 in the GS for the Dragons.
On the slalom, Vanitallie (eighth), Callahan (12th), Alex McIntosh (14th) and Holsbeke (23rd) led Clarkston.
For Lake Orion, Klaus (39th) cracked the top-40 in the slalom.
Heritage’s Cloetingh was the slalom winner (1:13.09), followed by Traverse City Central’s Phelps (1:13.30), Marquette’s Vermeulen (1:13.78), Traverse City West’s Ness (1:14.23) and Birmingham United’s Adam Ketai (1:17.07).
Marian’s title run was anchored by Katie Thibideau’s individual state crown in the GS (59.62). Kelly Lughamer was fourth (1:01.29) and Kat Streng ninth (1:02.40) for the Mustangs.
Individual qualifier Marie Dohm of Lake Orion was 12thand teammate Allison Mitchell finished 18th posted top-20 finishes for the Dragons.
Mallory Weaver of Traverse City Central was second (1:01.07), with Marquette’s Whitney Stilwell (1:01.16) and Piper Misna (1:01.56) finishing third and fifth, respectively, to round out the top five.
On the slalom, Misna won the crown (1:16.51), just ahead of Stilwell (1:16.99) and Mallory Weaver (1:18.78. Rockford’s Julie Daukss was fourth (1:19.13) and Walled Lake Central’s Mallory Slicker finished fifth (1:19.70).
Marian’s Kat Streng claimed sixth to lead the Mustangs, with Kelly Lunghamer placing eighth and Tara Streng 14th.
Lake Orion’s Mitchell finished 34th in the slalom.