By John Vrancic
Special to Second Half
MARQUETTE — There is plenty of opportunity for high school skiers to sharpen their skills in Emmet County with such facilities as Nub’s Nob and Boyne Mountain nearby.
It appears the Petoskey and Harbor Springs girls are taking advantage as they occupied the top two spots for the third straight year in Monday’s MHSAA Division 2 Final.
Petoskey regained the title with 65 points, followed by defending champion Harbor Springs with 91.5 and Bloomfield Hills Andover with 99.
“We put on great programs in the Emmet County area,” Petoskey coach Travis Hill said. “Harbor has been our competition for years, which keeps us focused. They edged us for the title last year, but today it came out in our favor. This was a great way for us to end the year.”
Petoskey was led by junior Mia Cicorretti, who placed second in slalom in one minute, 25.39 seconds and took sixth in giant slalom (1:04.19) at Marquette Mountain.
“I think being able to take runner-up in slalom is really cool,” Cicorretti said. “Being second out of the gate also helped. I was able to get out on the course before it got chewed up. I think our team did real well. We’ve been skiing with the Harbor Springs girls since we’ve been little. It’s kind of cool to know your competition as well as we do.”
Senior Abigail Hackman paced Harbor Springs by taking second in giant slalom (1:03.67) and third in slalom (1:26.17).
“I’m excited about where I finished,” said Hackman, who plans to attend college in New Hampshire or Vermont where she hopes to ski and play soccer. “I thought my first run in slalom (42.03) was real good. Although I like giant slalom better because of the steeper terrain. We have a lot of hills in our area that are similar to this and real good coaches who take us to harder courses, both of which I think really helped us today.”
Hackman’s career appeared to be in jeopardy a year ago after she suffered a knee injury a week before the Finals.
“I thought it was over at that point,” she said. “I’m just glad to still have a chance to ski. I wish our team would have done a little better, although we still had fun. Just being with this team is fantastic.”
Kingsford junior Mandy Haferkorn became the Upper Peninsula’s lone champion Monday, taking slalom in 1:24.2. In giant slalom, she was 11th (1:04.87).
“I really went for it (in slalom),” said Haferkorn, who won eight races this season. “I told myself this was my last chance (this season) to show I could do it. I didn’t have a good Regional in giant slalom and started further back in the pack. During the first run there were a lot of holes in the snow. Plus, it was real soft snow.
“Race after race, it gets more ruts which makes it kind of hard to adjust. You just have to focus on the race ahead of you. Otherwise, this was a real good year. Winning slalom was a great way to top it off.”
Traverse City St. Francis freshman Carlee McCardel, part of the Elks Rapids/St. Francis co-op team, was crowned giant slalom champion in 1:02.24. She cruised through the first run in 30.33, followed by a 31.91.
“Our coach always tells us to have clean turns,” McCardel said. “You don’t really want to hit the flags. If you do, they can slow you down. Although, they don’t most of the time. The first run gave me a pretty strong lead, but I still had to go for it. Yet, you don’t want to push in to the point where you fall. You have to find a happy medium.”
McCardel says she enjoys the co-op arrangement with Elk Rapids.
“This has been a great season for our team,” she added. “This is also a great co-op. The girls and boys have meshed real well. I’ve had great support from my family and teammates. We also have great coaches who helped me a lot.”
Andover’s leader was Jean Klochko-Bull, who was third in giant slalom (1:03.79) and fifth in slalom (1:27.39).
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PHOTO: The Petoskey girls ski team poses with its MHSAA championship trophy. (Photo courtesy of Petoskey skiing program.