UP skiers find success: Team Michigan wins Eastern High School Ski Championship
The high school ski season wrapped up in early March with a victory for Team Michigan on the ski slopes of Mittersill, New Hampshire.
Team Michigan was represented by 12 boys and 12 girls representing seven Central Division U.S. Ski and Snowboard Clubs in Michigan. They were joined by 131 boys and 123 girls from 12 states for two days of competition on the Slalom and Giant Slalom.
Michigan high school skiers qualified for the competition by competing in a variety of scored events throughout the season as well as a head-to-head race at Nub’s Nob in Harbor Springs, Michigan.
Team Michigan girls won with a score of 331. Vermont and New Hampshire tied for second at 484.
Local representation on the slopes for Michigan girls included Olivia Lunseth, a junior from Negaunee High School. She finished second overall.
Anna Grzelak, a senior from Marquette High School, placed fourth in the First Slalom and fifth in the Second Slalom.
Team Michigan boys took top honors with a total of 377. New Hampshire followed with a score of 405.
Sam Dehlin, a sophomore from Marquette High School, was the overall boys’ winner. Eli Heathman, a sophomore from Houghton High School, placed ninth in the First Slalom.
Larry Heathman, head coach of the Houghton High School alpine ski team, was also invited and honored to be a member of Team Michigan’s coaching squad.
“This was an exciting trip for us, because for the last three years we had finished second to New Hampshire,” said Larry. “So this was a big deal for us to win, and the girls won for the first time in four or five years.”
He added that he was impressed with the tenacity of the kids from Michigan.
“They all grow up on these small hills in Michigan, and then they head out east and face these mountains, and they are fearless to raced down them,” he explained. “These kids are tough.”
Furthermore, Larry Heathman noted that the future is bright for Team Michigan.
“Over half the kids on this year’s team were underclassmen,” he said. “So, we are hoping from so strong years moving forward. It was a good weekend.”