The Petoskey High School boys’ and girls’ ski teams have had a remarkable run in recent years.
They have combined for six state championships and four second place finishes since 2007.
What’s the reason for the continued success?
There are several according to fourth-year Petoskey High School head coach Travis Hill.
“I have to give credit to the parents,” Hill said Thurday following their Big North Conference race at Nub’s Nob, “As they are the number one supporters of the athletes.”
“We have a history and a legacy of creating ski racers,” Hill added, “And that’s because we have great programs in the community.”
The programs that coach Hill alluded to are Boyne Racing and Nub’s Nob Racing.
“Those two programs are helping us develop our younger athletes coming into our middle school,” Hill said.
The middle school program has nearly 50 kids participating this year ensuring more success in the future.
Hill pointed out “if you go back and look at the results from any member of our boys or girls’ B team, if you were to compare them to other teams around the state, they’re racing varsity.”
The teams practice nearly every day they aren’t racing about four or five days per week. Some of the athletes head out West before and after the season to places like Oregon and Colorado.
Seventeen-year-old Junior Gunnar Lundteigen spent this past Thanksgiving in Winter Park, Colo.
“People don’t just go to practice,” Lundteigen said, “They train outside of high school, they spend time in the weight room. It’s just the extra stuff that people put in.”
Lundteigen, whose first run on skis was at the age of 2 on the septic tank in his back yard, has been skiing competitively with teammates Brian Erhart and Noah Honaker since middle school.
“We had some guys really come together and we all kind of meshed,” Lundteigen said. “People laying down individually good times, and then as a team you put those times together and it works well.”
Other key contributors to the boys team include Matt Dankert, Trevor Kingsbury, and Ben Loomis.
The boys and girls teams had individuals named to the first or second All-State teams in slalom and giant slalom a combined 12 times last season. All of them were underclassmen and returned to the team this year.
The girls team includes Jill Antonishen, Claire Brummeler, Mia Ciccoretti, Lisa Dinon, Mikaela Nayback and Reilly Philliben.
The goal for the girls team, according to coach Hill, is to try and win the Big North Conference title and to contend for a state championship.
They finished second in the state last year which Hill referred to as “a tough pill to swallow.”
“The boys focus is to be that powerhouse in the BNC,” Hill said. “Our seniors leaving a legacy with our underclassmen that they’ll maintain that powerhouse in the coming years.”
“They have their eye on that prize at state and they know they’re not here to win it as individuals, they’re here to win it as a team.”
The Northmen will compete in a Big North Conference meet today, Tuesday, at Crystal Mountain.