MHSAA Division 1 ski regionals: Marquette Redmen win regional, Redettes take third at Marquette Mountain

MARQUETTE – The competition was all from the Lower Peninsula, but the results were the same for the Marquette Senior High School boys at the MHSAA Division 1 regional in downhill skiing on Tuesday.

Dominance at the top and beyond led the Redmen to an easy sweep over eight other schools at Marquette Mountain. MSHS scored a perfect 20 points to 67 for runner-up Traverse City Central and 129 for third-place TC West. All three of those teams qualify for the state Division 1 finals to be held on Monday, Feb. 24, at Schuss Mountain in Grayling.

The Marquette boys and girls teams are each eight-time state champions, according to the Michigan High School Athletic Association website, www.mhsaa.com, including the boys last season and the girls most recently in 2009.

Marquette’s girls also tasted success on Tuesday, though not without a hiccup for top skier Gabrielle Gencheff. Nevertheless, she helped the Redettes place third and also advance their entire team to the state finals at Schuss Mountain. TC Central won that meet with TC West the runner-up.

In addition to those teams, four skiers in each event not from the top schools qualified for the finals, so at least one skier from each school at Marquette Mountain made it to Grayling.

The MSHS boys, though, were a lock in their meet from start to finish. With four boys counting toward team points, the Redmen did that one better by sweeping the first five places in both slalom and giant slalom events.

With each individual making two runs in each event for a total combined time, Marquette in its first attempt in each event had the five fastest runs down the hill all day.

Senior Luke Johnson led the way, winning both events by about two-tenths of a seconds over junior teammate Nick Weber. Johnson clocked in at 1 minute, 11.57 seconds in the slalom to 1:11.74 for Weber, while the senior came in at 57.18 seconds in the GS to 57.40 for Weber.

Teammates Joe Weber, Dylan Larson and Bradley Seaborg occupied the next three spots, with Joe Weber third in slalom and fourth in GS, Larson third in GS and fifth in slalom, and Seaborg fourth in slalom and fifth in GS.

Just over a second separated first and fifth places in the GS, while a little more than two seconds was the difference between the No. 1 and No. 5 skiers in slalom.

Another Marquette skier, Matt Anderson, wasn’t far back in seventh place in GS and 11th in slalom.

Gencheff, who has led the MSHS girls all winter, won the giant slalom in a runaway, beating her closest competition by 1.69 seconds as she made the two fastest runs down the hill and totaled 58.07 seconds.

But she encountered problems in her second run in slalom. After posting the fastest attempt by anybody in her first run of 34.95 seconds, more than three seconds faster than anyone else, she struggled to a 56.43 time in run No. 2 and finished 18th overall.

But Hanna Johnson came on strong in the event, winning in 1:17.02 after she was third in the GS in 1:00.84.

Also from Marquette, Maggie Guter placed 16th in the slalom and 21st in GS, Allison Griffin 26th in GS and 31st in slalom, and Patricia Wirries 40th in GS.