By Scott Keyes
Special for Second Half
BELLAIRE – The Elk Rapids/Traverse City St. Francis girls ski team didn’t exactly anticipate winning the MHSAA Division 2 championship Monday at Schuss Mountain.
Maybe that’s an understatement.
"It was a complete shock," said Carlee McCardel, who helped the ER/SF team to victory. "(We had) no idea. My brother and a few of the siblings were (doing the math), but I said, 'Don't tell me, I want to be surprised.' With skiing you never know what could happen. The calculations can mess up. I wanted to wait until now. It makes it better."
The cooperative team also includes athletes from Central Lake and Grand Traverse Academy and scored 78 points to edge runner-up Houghton/Hancock (80), with Harbor Springs (88), Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (181) and Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (187) rounding out the top five.
The Elk Rapids/St. Francis boys finished second only to six-time reigning champion Petoskey in their meet, making for a special day all around for the program.
"Seeing the girls win a title so close to home is definitely a great way to end the season," said ER/SF coach Ben Ferrism, who co-coaches the team with Doug White. "But to see the boys team finish second and the girls win a title is extremely gratifying. What a great way to end the season. This is a pretty special day for both squads.
"I think I might have slept two hours last night, because I didn't know what direction the weather was heading," Ferrism added. "Lucky for us, it got colder and our athletes adapted to the conditions."
Houghton/Hancock did sweep the individual championships. Jenna Stine won the slalom in 1:02.94, followed by teammate Allyson Fenton (1:04.61) and McCardel in third (1:05.01).
In the giant slalom, Fenton won in 53.10 seconds, followed by McCardel (53.54) and Forest Hills Central's Sydney Reynolds (54.67).
"To have our team finish second while winning the slalom and giant slalom is pretty impressive," Stein said. "I couldn't be happier for my team."
PHOTOS: (Top) The Elk Rapids/Traverse City St. Francis girls ski team celebrates the Division 2 championship Monday. (Middle) A competitor races downhill at Schuss Mountain. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)