When the Iron Mountain girls won the 1979 MHSAA Ski Finals championship at nearby Pine Mountain, it’s almost a guarantee that at least a few found a way to connect the team’s nickname to its success on the hill that day.
But there are many more notable reasons to recall the Mountaineers among the state’s earliest champions in the sport.
Iron Mountain’s girls accomplished a first for their school and peninsula, becoming the first Upper Peninsula program to win an MHSAA Finals in alpine skiing since the start of statewide championship competition in 1975.
The Mountaineers followed a pattern in becoming that fifth champion. Traverse City High had won the first two titles, with Cadillac the runner-up both seasons. Cadillac then won in 1977 and 1978, with Iron Mountain the runner-up that latter season before taking the championship step in 1979.
And there’s some additional historical context that makes the Mountaineers’ achievement even more special during this year of Title IX and girls athletics celebrations – the Upper Peninsula, in 1952, became the first to host an MHSAA-sanctioned event in any sport to include girls competition. A ski Regional, hosted in Iron Mountain that February, included a girls team from the local school, making those Mountaineers also among pioneers in girls school sports.
From its first Finals through the 1995 season, there was only one “Open Class” for skiing at the MHSAA postseason level, and the 1979 Iron Mountain team featured one of the most impressive 1-2 performances over these nearly 50 seasons of the sport.
For the second-straight season, Susie Fox (above photo, front row, second from left) swept both the slalom and giant slalom race championships. She was followed immediately in both by teammate Andrea Trepp, who had placed third in slalom and fourth in GS in 1978. Trepp (standing, second from right) would go on to sweep both events at the 1980 Finals at Nubs Nob.
Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.
Previous Title IX at 50 Spotlights
Jan. 11: Harrold's Achievement Heralds Growth of Girls Wrestling - Read
Dec. 20: Competitive Cheer Gives Michigan Plenty to Cheer About - Read
Dec. 14: Evelyn's Game Had Plenty of Magic - Read
Dec. 7: Council Term Ends, But Leinaar Leaves Lasting Impact - Read
Nov. 30: Basketball Season Ready to Add to Rich Tradition - Read
Nov. 23: Marysville Builds Winning Streak Yet to be Challenged - Read
Nov. 16: Wroubel Has Championed Girls School Sports from Their Start - Read
Nov. 9: Pioneer's Joyce Legendary in Michigan, National Swim History - Read
Nov. 2: Royal Oak's Finch Leading Way on Football Field - Read
Oct. 26: Coach Clegg Sets Championship Standard at Grand Blanc - Read
Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
Oct. 12: Bedford Volleyball Pioneer Continues Blazing Record-Setting Trail - Read
Oct. 5: Warner Paved Way to Legend Status with Record Rounds - Read
Sept. 28: Taylor Kennedy Gymnasts Earn Fame as 1st Champions - Read
Sept. 21: Portage Northern Star Byington Becomes Play-by-Play Pioneer - Read
Sept. 14: Guerra/Groat Legacy Continues to Serve St. Philip Well - Read
Sept. 7: Best-Ever Conversation Must Include Leland's Glass - Read
Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read
(MHSAA file photo.)