By Scott Keyes
Special for Second Half
BELLAIRE – Regardless of the sport, winning an MHSAA championship is an impressive feat.
But what about winning six titles in a row?
That's the possibility the Petoskey boys ski team faced entering Monday's Division 2 Finals at Schuss Mountain.
With hard work, dedication and a few breaks along the way, Petoskey pulled off the inevitable by winning its sixth straight championship, and third straight under current coach Erik Lundteigen.
Following Petoskey was the Elk Rapids/Traverse City St. Francis cooperative program in second, Cadillac (third), East Grand Rapids (fourth) and Charlevoix (fifth).
"Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought about being a part of six straight championships," Lundteigen said. "To be that good for so long comes with a lot of hard work and definitely a lot of luck along the way. But to take nothing away from our kids, they work so hard every time they hit the slopes. We have a tremendous feeder program, and the kids buy into what we are teaching. It's that dedication that allows us to stay competitive year after year."
Lundteigen tried to downplay the feat of six titles, which is second only to Traverse City’s run of eight consecutive MHSAA championships from 1988-95.
“When you ski well, good things happen," he said. "We had a tremendous season."
The Northmen were led by Garrett Lundteigen and Mitch Makala.
Makala won the giant slalom in 47.24, defeating last year's champion Ben Hicks of Elk Rapids/St. Francis (47.30), and Makala’s teammate Garret Lundteigen was third. (47.43).
In the slalom, it was Garret Lundteigen finishing first in 1:03.01, Makala was second (103.88) and Victor Pierret of Harbor Springs was third (1:05.57).
“We’ve got a great one-two punch with Garret and Mitch,” Erik Lundteigen said. “They go back and forth. They push each other, and I love it.
“It’s like we have a one and a 1-A.”
With the win, Garrett was able replicate the feat of his older brother Gunner, who won both the slalom and giant slalom championships in 2013. But, echoing his father, Garrett also said the titles aren’t what’s at the forefront at the starting line.
“Once you get to the top of the hill, it’s just all about skiing,” Garrett said. “We don’t even think about the record. It’s just thinking about getting to the bottom as fast as you can.”
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PHOTO: The Petoskey boys ski team poses with its championship trophy after its sixth straight win in Division 2. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)