MARQUETTE -- The Petoskey High School boys' ski team missed out on a state qualifying berth by a half-point last season, by a mere one-100th of a second.
On Thursday at Marquette Mountain, the Northmen left little doubt as to whether or not they'd be skiing as a team in the 2011 Division II State Finals.
Petoskey put down a dominating team performance in the morning giant slalom session and followed it up with a strong slalom run en route to capturing the regional championship on a warm, foggy and misty day on the slopes.
Petoskey finished with 56 points, while Kingsford was second, 73; and Harbor Springs was third with 84. Those three qualify for the State Finals, which are Monday, Feb. 28. at Boyne Mountain.
For second-year Petoskey coach Travis Hill and his athletes, Thursday's victory was sweet redemption after last season's hard-luck finish at the regional.
"We have a relatively young team, both the boys and girls, but for the guys to be able to step it up like they did and to make their seniors proud, it really showed they could do it," Hill said. "It was kind of back and forth with us and Harbor in slalom, but thankfully we had such a good morning session in GS to give us a cushion."
Harbor Springs senior Drake Doherty won the slalom in an impressive 1 minute, 13.75 seconds, which was 6.72 seconds better than runner-up finisher Brian Erhart of Petoskey. Doherty, who won both the slalom and GS in last season's regional, finished runner-up in GS to Bellaire's Mike King, who finished in 54.17 seconds.
All six Petoskey boys placed in the top 15 in GS to start the meet. Erhart was a team-best third, followed by Gunnar Lundteigen, fourth; Noah Honaker, ninth; Ben Loomis, 10th; Kyle Antonishen, 11th; and Michael Drake, 12th. Petoskey won the GS with 26 points, followed by Kingsford, 31; and Harbor, 55.
"We got up to Marquette first thing Wednesday morning and right away we lost Brian Doull to an injury," Hill said. "We put Noah Honaker in his position in GS and he put himself into ninth place. He struggled in slalom and in two runs had to hike five times, but he finished and he knew the importance of that."
Harbor edged Petoskey in the slalom, 29-30. For the Northmen, Erhart was second, Antonishen, third; Ben Loomis, ninth; Lundteigen, 16th; Drake, 40th; and Honaker, 48th.
"We had some guys who had to hike in slalom and it was a little unnerving," Hill said. "But it just came down to who had to hike the fastest and then ski the fastest in that second run."
Doherty led the Rams in slalom as he defended his regional title, while Dan Davis was sixth; Jac Talcott, seventh; Forrest Lundgren, 15th; and Greg Gallagher, 21st.
In GS, Doherty was second, while Lundgren was 14th; Gallagher, 16th; Talcott, 23rd; and Ben Postma, 42nd.
"The boys had some issues in the morning GS, but they bounced back in the afternoon to win the slalom," Harbor coach Jane Ramer said. "It was a great team effort on the boys' part."
Charlevoix-East Jordan's Brian Shutler qualified for the state meet as an individual in GS as he placed 17th. Also for Charlevoix-East Jordan in GS, Brandon Cardwell was 25th; Paul Stolt, 29th; Jonathon Lindfors, 36th; Tag McCreaddie, 38th; and Tyler Engstrom, 56th.
Shutler also paced Charlevoix-East Jordan in slalom as he finished 14th, followed by Cardwell, 27th; McCreaddie, 41st; and Engstrom, 54th.
Norman Berge of Boyne City qualified as an individual for the state meet by placing fourth in slalom. Also for the Rambler boys in slalom, Corey Bohnet was 20th, followed by Neil Anderson, 30th. In GS, Dean Hague was 19th, Bohnet, 24th; Berge, 35th; and Jacob Knitter, 50th.
Inland Lakes boys skiers included Errol Jones, 31st slalom, 52nd GS; John Hutchinson, 45th GS, 47th slalom; Alex Greenlaw, 45th slalom; Will Andrew, 52nd slalom, 58th GS; and Sam Baxendale, 48th GS.
Petoskey will ski in the Big North Conference championships on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at the Otsego Club.
"We have that meet and we have four good days of training leading into the state meet," Hill said. "I know both our teams were overjoyed to see that first place trophy, but I know they're both hungry for more at the state level."
1. Petoskey 56
2. Kingsford 73
3. Harbor Springs 84
4. Houghton 194.5
5. Bellaire 214
6. Charlevoix-East Jordan 243
7. Grayling 244
8. Boyne City 257
9. Gladstone 261.5
10. Ironwood 356
11. Inland Lakes 378
12. Elk Rapids 417
13. Iron River 469
1. Mike King, Bellaire 54.17
2. Drake Doherty, Harbor Springs 54.31
3. Brian Erhart, Petoskey 56.08
4. Gunnar Lundteigen, Petoskey 56.44
5. Tj Haferkorn, Kingsford 57.95
6. Jeff Brooks, Kingsford 58.15
7. Josh Ishe, Kingsford 58.16
8. Conner Wilson, Ironwood 58.22
9. Noah Honaker, Petoskey 58.47
10. Ben Loomis, Petoskey 58.68
1. Drake Doherty, Harbor Springs 1:13.75
2. Brian Erhart, Petoskey 1:20.47
3. Kyle Antonisen, Petoskey 1:21.76
4. Norman Berge, Boyne City 1:23.10
5. Josh Ishe, Kingsford 1:24.42
6. Dan Davis, Harbor Springs 1:25.62
7. Jac Talcott, Harbor Springs 1:25.64
8. Nick Cecconi, Kingsford 1:26.24
9. Ben Loomis, Petoskey 1:26.69
10. Edward Glowacki, Houghton 1:27.43
1. Petoskey 78
2. Harbor Springs 93
3. Kingsford 105
4. Houghton 160
5. Boyne City 164
6. Grayling 211
7. Charlevoix-East Jordan 255
8. Iron River 257
9. Elk Rapids 260
10. Gladstone 312
11. Ironwood 371
1. Victoria McVicker, Petoskey 54.63
2. Mandy Haferkorn, Kingsford 56.74
3. Abby Fenton, Houghton 57.16
4. Rose Pellegrom, Harbor Springs 57.56
5. Samantha Heino, Kingsford 57.81
6. Leslie Hamar, Houghton 57.85
7. Reilly Philliben, Petoskey 58.45
8. Abigail Hackman, Harbor Springs 59.01
9. Kaylee Martinek, Elk Rapids 59.12
10. Alexis Truscott, Kingsford 59.26
1. Victoria McVicker, Petoskey 1:17.84
2. Samantha Heino, Kingsford 1:24.63
3. Kaylee Martinek, Elk Rapids 1:25.14
4. Abby Fenton, Houghton 1:27.58
5. Abigail Hackman, Harbor Springs 1:27.97
6. Meg Shepherd, Harbor Springs 1:28.33
7. Samantha Henderson, Houghton 1:28.51
8. Reilly Philliben, Petoskey 1:29.62
9. Laci Hofweber, Boyne City 1:30.00
10. Ivy Lapp, Iron River 1:30.15