Girls take fourth place
Week three of the Greater Grand Rapids High School Ski Association (GGRHSSA) concluded after a varsity race at Cannonsburg Ski Area on Tuesday, Jan. 26, followed by a combined varsity/JV race on the steeper, more challenging slopes of Caberfae Peaks, west of Cadillac, on Friday, Jan. 29.
Once again, 11 high school teams along with independent racers converged and sped down the slopes, with racers skiing as fast as possible, sometimes experiencing the thrill of finishing and other times the disappointment of falling or hitting a gate. If a racer falls, they can hike back up the hill to the missed gate and then finish the race, but if they lose a ski, they are disqualified. It takes strength, agility and courage to finish at the top, especially as the slopes get steeper.
Each team sends six racers down the hill, with racers taking two runs each of slalom and giant slalom (GS). Their combined run times determine their overall individual score in each event. The team score is determined by the placement points of the top four finishers. When a team is able to place all of their top four finishers in the top 15, their chances at earning first place as a team are high. Rockford has several talented racers this year, with at least 10 racers capable of consistently finishing in the top 20.
This was demonstrated at Tuesday’s race at Cannonsburg with Rockford boys taking first place with 62 points. East Grand Rapids took second with 79 points, followed by Forest Hills Central (127), Forest Hills Northern (135), and Grand Haven (147).
Once again, the boys’ team leader was Michael Dix with a first-place finish in slalom (59.68) and a fifth-place finish in GS (51.89). Rounding out the scoring in a very challenging slalom event, Taylor Noakes finished fourth (1:02.73), and John Milewski sixth (1:04.03). Travis Fleming posted an excellent 12th-place finish on his first run, but fell on the second, resulting in being disqualified. Ben Avink was in 13th place on his first run, but hit a gate and had to hike, resulting in 28th place (1:17.53).
The team score became dependent upon a strong finish of the last racer, Casey Hefferan. After finishing in 15th place on his first run, Hefferan came through and finished eighth on his second run for an overall placement of ninth (1:06.06).
In the GS event, Avink placed 10th (52.61), Noakes 12th (52.76), and Fleming 15th (53.29). Tyler Manikowski also finished strong in 18th place (53.53) and Milewski finished 27th (55.36).
Rockford girls finished in fourth place overall with 137 total points. Grand Haven finished first with 82 points, followed by Forest Hills Central (121.3) and Forest Hills Northern (124).
Rockford girls were led this week by Julie Daukss and Carly Funk. Daukss had a first-place finish in slalom (1:10.34) and took fourth place in GS (54.20). Trading rankings with Daukss, Funk placed second in slalom (1:12.79) and third in GS (53.99).
Rounding out the scoring for the girls was Kaiti Bartholomy with 25th place in GS (1:00.31) and 33rd in slalom (1:38.35), Emily Kommer 28th in GS (1:00.64), and Bethany Hicks 41st in slalom (1:45.07). Outside of scoring range, Hicks finished 36th in GS (1:02.42) and Macauley finished 42nd in GS (1:04.15). Ashley Rister had a 24th-place finish in her first run of slalom, but fell on her second run and was disqualified. Macauley also fell in slalom.
The team traveled to Caberfae on Friday, Jan. 29, but as of press time results were not yet available.