Cadillac girls take third, Wallis nabs giant slalom runner-up as freshman

Andrew Rosenthal, The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich.
·3 min read

Feb. 23—HARBOR SPRINGS — Onalee Wallis was surprised at her first run of the giant slalom.

So when the Cadillac freshman found out her second run would hold up for state runner-up in GS, that surprise turned into a state medal.

"I'm so happy, I don't even know how to describe it," Wallis said. "It's just wild knowing how you did as a freshman. It's just crazy."

Wallis was the highest finisher for the Viking girls on a day her team had their best finish in years. Cadillac tied with Petoskey with 130 points for third place in Division 2, beating the Northmen in a tiebreaker because its fifth racer had a better finish.

Last year both Cadillac teams finished in sixth place — but its girls also returned three members of that team.

James Netzley, Cadillac's ski coach, said for as many years the Vikings have been to the finals, the only other team to get as close as this year's girls team was its boys team five to six years ago.

Cadillac girls won the Division 1 state title in 1990. It has had 12 other runner-up finishes since 1975, most recently in 2001. Official records are not kept of how a team placed at state beyond runner-up.

"We knew that we did well at regionals, but at the bigger event here with more players, we thought we'd have a good chance to do pretty well too," Netzley said. "We'd stack up well against the other competition."

Wallis said she wasn't racing as well as she did Monday over the course of the regular season. She placed third at regionals, but come the state finals, outraced East Grand Rapids' Chloe Sholler who finished ahead of her in that meet.

Wallis clocked runs of 31.70 and 28.35 to combine for 1:00.05, just 12 hundreths of a second behind Lowell's Kaylee Byrne.

"She's sneaky fast," Netzley said of Wallis. "She's been doing some really good racing all year."

Fellow freshman Avery Meyer joined Wallis on the podium at eighth in GS for all-state honors. Sophomore Georgette Sake, Cadillac's seventh place medalist in slalom, is a sophomore.

Netzley said the three have been bouncing back and forth all season to see who would be the faster one, but Wallis has had better finishes overall.

"It's been a long, long time since we've had a Cadillac girl finish that high," Netzley said. "So yeah, that was impressive, that was really impressive."

Marley Spence led the Northmen with a state runner-up finish in slalom of their own at 1:28.07. In GS, Lauren Rothman took ninth, Spence took tenth for medals as well. Olivia Nemec (16th in slalom) was the only other all-state finisher for the 4th place Northmen.

Onekama foreign exchange student Aada Tukianinen took 10th in the slalom with a time of 1:34.32 to medal individually, also earning second-team all-state in GS with a 15th place finish.

Charlevoix's Kate Klinger took 15th in the slalom at 1:35.92, and Gaylord's Remi Robel took 20th in the same race at 1:38.10. Both earned second-team all-state honors.

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