BELLAIRE — Brighton may not have the pedigree of some other schools when it comes to Michigan girls high school downhill skiing.
That perception changed in a hurry on Monday at the Division 1 state finals at Schuss Mountain.
The Bulldogs finished first in slalom and giant slalom, slipping past Traverse City Central and Traverse City West in a tightly contested top three for their first skiing state title.
“It’s just crazy. It’s overwhelming,” said Brighton coach Jeff Street. “We worked really hard. We’ve got a young team — one freshman, there sophomores, a senior and a junior. That’s a young team and we skied really well today. It’s a really great group of girls.”
Brighton ended the meet with 92 points, with Central scoring 101 and West 103. Marquette’s score of 202 put it a distant fourth.
Morgan Myers led Brighton in the giant slalom with a fifth-place finish (50.54) and Veronica Ripper led the Bulldogs in slalom, placing fifth in 1:06.54.
Brighton’s win was a bit of a surprise to the teams that were challenging the Bulldogs for the top spot, intra-city rivals who have battled back and forth for supremacy in the Big North Conference and in regional competition.
“As far as we’re concerned they came out of nowhere because we didn’t know who they were,” said West coach Ed Johnson. “We didn’t know they were there, that they were that deep.”
“We knew some of their girls from USSA racing, but their top four girls were very good, very consistent,” added Central coach Jerry Stanek, who’s team was the defending state champion.
Lilia Staszel gave Brighton two top 10 finishers in slalom with an eighth-place finish in 1:06.8. Myers was 14th (1:08.27) and Jenna Sica was 16th (1:08.82). In giant slalom, Ripper was 13th (51.95), Sica took 15th (51.97) and Straszel was 16th (52.44).