Feb. 23—HARBOR SPRINGS — The streak has started again.
Petoskey beat out Great North Alpine for the Division 2 skiing state title at Boyne Highlands Resort after missing out on the regional title to GNA last week.
The Northmen go back-to-back to make it 10 championships out of the last 11 years with Monday's victory. The only team to win a state title in that run is Great North Alpine in 2019, the co-op program between Elk Rapids, Traverse City St. Francis and Grand Traverse Academy.
It also makes the Northmen the third team in the Big North Conference to take home a state championship trophy this winter. Traverse City West boys and Traverse City Central girls won titles just across the street at Nubs Nob in the Division 1 finals.
Ben Crockett, who coaches the Petoskey boys, wasn't really surprised at that given the reputation of BNC schools producing quality skiers.
"We're getting a lot more challenges from schools in the Grand Rapids and Detroit areas," Crockett said. "To stay on top, we're going to have to keep working hard to be able to stay in the position that we're in, but we're feeling pretty good that we've got such good strength locally here."
Both Petoskey and GNA had a bevy of all-state finishers Monday.
For Petoskey in the giant slalom, Anders McCarthy was the leader for Petoskey in the giant slalom taking third (1:02.13), Wyatt Mattson taking fifth (1:02.86). William Goelz placed 12th for second-team all-state (1:04.02). McCarthy (fifth) and Goelz (10th) finished with all-state honors in the slalom, Nolan Walkerdine (11th) and Mattson (13th) earned second-team all-state. Michael Iverson finished 21st in slalom to nearly miss second-team.
Sully Husband was the only one from Great North Alpine to medal in the morning session, taking fourth in the GS with a time of 1:02.41. Ayden Ferris (13th), Shane Pilate (15th) and Corbin Murphy (19th) each earned second-team all-state nods. Husband doubled up in the afternoon, finishing sixth in slalom, and Ferris joined him at the podium in seventh.
Husband attributed the team's success to getting four solid runs in. He said that's also what led to GNA's regional title win over Petoskey.
"I'm kind of happy that we got a nice finish," Husband said. "We got second place, kind of stinks that we didn't get first place, but you know, I'm happy that we made it down in one piece because that's really the challenge at the end of the day."
Ben Ferris, who coaches GNA, said it's always nice to bring hardware back. When a co-op school wins a state trophy a duplicate trophy goes to each school that is a part of the co-op.
"It's really about who skis the cleanest all day long and brings things together," Ferris said. "D2 has a really strong skier population anyways, so anytime you get somewhere up and you can make in that top three it's a pretty successful season."
Crockett said 10 titles out of 11 years doesn't take away from the years the Northmen won eight straight. If anything, he said it's a good thing to have several teams knocking on the door.
Pontiac Notre Dame (72 points) finished just behind Great North Alpine (71 points), to nearly miss its best boys finish in school history. Meanwhile, Notre Dame's girls program made it three state titles in a row in each of three years under Craig McLeod.
"We want a sport where we have competitive teams and where we're all pushing each other to be better athletes and better competitors," Crockett said. "I think the more competition that we have, and the closer it is, the more the win means."
Abraham continues Blue Devils' streak
Connor Abraham had the top spot in the slalom for a long five minutes.
The Gaylord junior beat out Harbor Springs junior Connor Truman, brother of defending slalom champion Andrew Truman, on his second run of 40.42 by two seconds; but Reed Heathman of Houghton and Jack Lintol of Notre Dame each completed their runs with faster times.
It also was the first year Gaylord alumni Reagan Olli wasn't on the podium of a state championship. Olli won the 2018 and 2020 slalom crowns — only one of nine girls to win multiple state titles in slalom — and now plays soccer at Northern Michigan University.
Abraham's finish at third place is the best for a male athlete in Gaylord history, but he said next year he wants to make history by beating his own record.
"I really want to win the slalom title before I graduate," Abraham said. "I guess that's a goal of mine that I've had for a while is becoming a state champ. I think the opportunity is most likely in slalom."
Quincy Thayer, who attends Frankfort and competes for Benzie Central, also made the podium while competing individually. He took seventh in the giant slalom and eighth in the slalom for a pair of medals.
Seth Johnson, competing for Benzie, earned second team all-state in both GS (15th) and slalom (20th). Onekama's Kylar Thomas joined Johnson on second-team in both disciplines, finishing 12th in slalom and 14th in GS.
Follow Andrew Rosenthal on Twitter @ByAndrewR