TRAVERSE CITY — The object is just to get the foot in the door, then see what happens down the road.
The Traverse City Central and Traverse City West boys and girls ski teams are set to head to Marquette Mountain for Tuesday's regional competition, where all four squads have one main goal — qualify for the state meet.
Whether that's as the first, second or third place team at the regional is somewhat irrelevant as long as it involves a trip to the Division 1 state finals at Schuss Mountain on Feb. 24.
"The regionals is kind of a race that you'd like to win, but it's not really necessary," said Central coach Jerry Stanek. "The object is, for us, to ski well enough to qualify for the states."
West head coach Ed Johnson is taking the same approach, looking at Tuesday's meet as a qualifier.
"If we win it, great. If not, that's OK too, as long as we're in that top three and make it to the final event — then we're happy," said Johnson.
As far as the girls meet is concerned there shouldn't be much trouble for either of the Traverse City schools to attain a top three finish.
"From what I understand that will be pretty achievable. I certainly don't see that as an issue," said Johnson. "I think the Central and West girls will be right there. That's fun. That's exciting from the skiing aspect of our community, both of the Traverse City girls teams potentially the top two teams in the state. That's pretty cool."
West and Central have battled neck and neck all season, but West has won the last two times the teams have skied against one another. Central is the defending state and regional champion, with West placing second at last year's regional.