This season's MHSAA Skiing Finals will be raced Monday at Nub's Nob and Boyne Highlands just outside of Harbor Springs.
These are some of the short stories behind the team contenders in both divisions for both boys and girls, plus a few individuals whose names should appear near the top of the results.
No more Marian?: Not so fast – Marian is still a major contender after winning the last two Division 1 girls championships. But Traverse City Central is hoping to break through after four straight runner-up finishes, and comes in as a Big North Conference and Regional champion. And Walled Lake Central beat Marian at their Regional at Alpine Valley.
More of the same: For the past four seasons, some combination of Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Manistee has finished first and second at the Division 2 girls final. It’s possible they could make it five straight – but with a different champion after Harbor Springs was first, Houghton second and reigning Finals champion Petoskey third at the Regional at Nub’s Nob.
Battle of Traverse City: Traverse City Central’s boys have won the last two Division 1 championships. But Traverse City West edged the Trojans to claim the Regional title at Schuss Mountain.
Petoskey repeat: The Northmen are the reigning Division 2 boys champions and shared the Big North Conference title with Cadillac this season, ahead of both Traverse City West and Central. Petoskey won its regional -- but so did reigning Division 2 Finals runner-up Manistee.
Detroit Catholic Central’s Damon Rottermond: He might’ve gotten a look at his top competition at the Regional at Alpine Valley. The reigning Division 1 giant slalom champion, he finished second in both that race and the slalom at the Regional. White Lake Lakeland’s Taylor Janssen won the giant slalom and finished third in the slalom at that Regional, while Walled Lake Northern’s John Merchant won the slalom and was third in the giant.
Petoskey’s Gunner Lundteigen: He finished 32nd in the Division 2 slalom and fourth in the giant slalom last season, but won both races at his Regional at Nub’s Nob.
Walled Lake Central’s Mallory Slicker: She won both races at the Alpine Valley Regional; White Lake Lakeland’s Kelsey Griffin finished second in both. Slicker was sixth in the giant slalom and fifth in the slalom at last season’s Final. Also watch for Marian’s Kelly Lunghamer, who posted top-four finishes in both races at that same Regional after finishing eighth in the slalom and fourth in the giant at the 2011 Final.
Houghton’s Abby Fenton: She won the girls Division 2 slalom Regional title at Nub’s Nob after finishing ninth in that race and 10th in the giant slalom at last season’s Division 2 Final. Houghton’s Abigail Hackman was the giant winner at that Regional this month and finished 10th in the slalom and 12th in the giant at the 2011 Final.
PHOTO, from last season's Division 1 Final, courtesy of Mid-Michigan Sports Scene.