BY DENNIS CHASE
TRAVERSE CITY — Two northern Michigan teams won state championships in 2010.
And they came in a sport those schools have long excelled at.
The Traverse City Central and Harbor Springs boys captured downhill ski state crowns in February.
For the Trojans, it was the start of a trophy-filled year at the state level. Central's girls finished second in the state in skiing, golf and cross country, third in tennis and 10th in bowling. The boys were seventh in tennis.
"We had a nice calendar year as well as a great fall start to our 2010-11 school year," Trojan athletic director Cody Inglis said.
Three of those top-10 finishes came in the fall.
"With the history and tradition Central has had in athletics, some people just think that it happens magically," Inglis said. "But these things don't happen magically. There is a real formula for success and it starts with the coaches, parental support and the students putting in the work and time. That's what makes this especially pleasing because these spots require that dedication."
Mike Waning took over a state championship ski program in 2009 and produced a state title in his second season. Coaches Larry Nykerk (tennis), Lisa Taylor (cross country) and Lois McManus (golf) have traditionally had their teams in the hunt at the state level.
"Those are veteran coaches that have that formula for success and have done things the right way," Inglis said. "They emphasize much more than just winning, which I think is critical. It's much more about the life-long components, life-long aspects of those sports as well.
"Yes it's about winning, being competitive, but it's much more than that. It's about life lessons and it's about enjoyment of those sports that they (athletes) can carry on for the rest of their lives."
Big North Conference rival Petoskey enjoyed a banner 2010, too. The Northmen dominated in basketball and football. The boys finished 23-2 and reached the quarterfinals in basketball last March, losing an overtime thriller to Muskegon Heights. The girls were 22-2 and made it to the regional finals. Petoskey went 8-2 in football.
"I think their (basketball) teams are even better this year," Inglis said. "But they do move up to Class A."
Suttons Bay and Central Lake also had memorable years. Suttons Bay reached the Class C state finals in boys basketball. The football team finished 11-1, losing to Iron Mountain in the regionals. The Central Lake girls were semifinalists in basketball and volleyball.