Shorthanded Redettes qualify for state ski finals

BELLAIRE – Traverse City West’s girls ski team just wanted to earn a spot in the state finals.

The Titans walked away with even more than that at Wednesday’s Division 1 regional at Schuss Mountain.

West captured its second straight regional title, scoring 75.5 points to slip past Traverse City Central (80.5) and Marquette (82) for top honors. All three teams punched their tickets to the state finals, which was the main priority for each of the state finals qualifiers.

“It’s great to be regional champion, but it’s really a qualifier for the finals,” TC West coach Ed Johnson said. “We just wanted to make sure we got in that top three.”

The Titans were comfortably in the lead after the slalom, where they had three racers in the top 10, and still managed to finish first overall after placing behind Central and Marquette in giant slalom. Only those top three were in shouting distance in GS.

Marquette was paced by Sadah Scheidt, the overall winner of the slalom (1:03.95). She also came in second in GS (49.34) for Marquette, which was down two top skiers because of injury.

“What really surprised me was how well they were doing against those Traverse City teams,” Marquette coach Marty Paulsen said. “(The injuries) really took the depth out of our team. So today the strategy was for each of the girls to ski strong, not try to ski above their ability.”

That didn’t always happen smoothly. Amelia Cole ended up 38th in slalom (1:42.53) after having to hike, but she also came through with a 22nd-place finish in slalom (53.53).

Natalie Robinia and Hanna Johnson both had a pair of top-10 finishes for the Redettes. Robinia was third in slalom (1:06.92) and fourth in GS (49.52). Johnson took fifth in GS (49.97) and seventh in slalom (1:08.64).

That sets the stage for another showdown between the three teams at the state meet to be held at Marquette Mountain on Feb. 29.