Excellent snow and mild conditions heralded the beginning of the 2010 ski season for Rockford and the rest of the Greater Grand Rapids High School Ski Conference (GGRHSSC) racing season Tuesday night, Jan. 12. With light snow falling and temperatures just below freezing, the Rockford team put on an impressive performance with the boys placing first overall and the girls placing second.
Racers participate in two runs of slalom and two runs of giant slalom (GS) on race nights. Each team is allowed six racers in each division, and the top four finishes are counted in the results, with total team points determined by the overall finish place of each racer. The sport requires racers to go as fast as possible, but a single fall can disqualify them from the event.
Rockford is fortunate to have excellent depth on their boys team this year, with six returning seniors and one returning junior from last season’s varsity team. Rockford has at least eight racers capable of finishing in the top 15. These boys are all contending with each other each week for the right to race on Tuesday night.
On Tuesday night, the boys finished first in both events and overall, with returning seniors John Milewski placing second in slalom, Michael Dix placing seventh in GS, Tyler Manikowski seventh in slalom and ninth in GS, Travis Fleming eighth in GS, and Casey Hefferan 16th in slalom. Contributing to the first-place finish was an impressive first varsity race performance by freshman Ben Avink, who finished sixth in slalom and 11th in GS. With all qualifying finishes in the top 16, the boys’ overall score was 66, ahead of East Grand Rapids with 96.5, Forest Hills Northeast 130, Forest Hills Central 131.5, and Grand Haven with 178.5.
The girls team did not disappoint the fans with their results. Leading the team were returning juniors Julie Daukss and Carly Funk, who took first and second place in slalom, respectively, and then came back to finish second and third in GS. Adding valuable finishes to the team were returning junior Bethany Hicks, finishing 26th in GS, freshman Emily McCauley, finishing 20th in slalom and 29th in GS, and freshman Kaiti Bartholomy, finishing 31st in slalom. The girls took a second-place overall finish (114 points) behind Grand Haven (62 points), and ahead of Forest Hills Northeast (118), Forest Hills Central (149) and KHLCP (153). Team coaches include Mark Brace, Molly Noakes and Terri Avink.
Varsity ski races are held every Tuesday night at Cannonsburg Ski Area, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Junior varsity races are Thursday nights. Conference teams include Grand Haven, Rockford, Forest Hills Central and Northern, West Catholic, East Grand Rapids, Catholic Central, Greenville, Northview, KHLCP (Kenowa Hills, Lowell, Comstock Park), Grand Rapids Christian, as well as independents (no team). The next varsity race is Tuesday, Jan. 19.
On Tuesday, Jan. 5, area racers participated in the Giant Slalom Invitational Race at Cannonsburg Ski Area and on Thursday, Jan. 7, the Slalom Championships. Racers competed against others in the same class and gender. Rockford racers finishing in the top 25 include:
• Girls GS: juniors Carly Funk (first, 58.51), Bethany Hicks (ninth, 1:05.65), Lauren Scott (16th, 1:25.17); sophomore Ashley Rister (17th, 1:17.98); freshmen Emily Macauley (second, 1:06.06), Kaiti Bartholomy (third, 1:06.44), Emily Kommer (sixth, 1:07.88), Alysse Quinn (18th, 1:21.13)
• Boys GS: seniors John Milewski (sixth, 55.46), Travis Fleming (eighth, 56.09), Tyler Manikowski (ninth, 56.47), Casey Heferan (11th, 57.34), Dan O’Connor (13th, 57.82); juniors Taylor Noakes (fourth, 55.46), Michael Kommer (ninth, 58.96); sophomore Jake Lewis (fourth, 59.19); freshmen Ben Avink (first, 55.33), Ryan Donley (second, 59.18)
• Girls slalom: senior Cristina Cayetano (25th); juniors Carly Funk (second, 1:13.16), Bethany Hicks (10th, 1:29.43), Lauren Scott (20th, 1:58.04); sophomore Ashley Rister (15th, 1:40.86); freshmen Emily Macauley (first, 1:25.08), Emily Kommer (seventh, 1:34.37), Kaiti Bartholomy (ninth, 1:37.06), Alysse Quinn (18th, 1:53.94)
• Boys slalom: seniors John Milewski (fifth, 1:07.65), Tyler Manikowski (seventh, 1:08.85), Dan O’Connor (15th, 1:17.34), Travis Fleming (19th, 1:21.05); juniors Taylor Noakes (second, 1:07.10), Michael Kommer (seventh, 1:15.16); sophomore Jake Lewis (third, 1:12.19); freshmen Ryan Donley (first, 1:13.28), Ben Avink (seventh, 1:21.57)
• CUSSA division: Julie Daukss (first in slalom 1:06.34 and GS 56.84), Michael Dix (first in slalom 1:04.77 and GS 56.32).