BOYNE FALLS — Regional champ.
What a way to go out for Traverse City West senior Finley Clark.
Clark captured the Division 1 state slalom championship at Boyne Mountain on Monday, beating Walled Lake Northern’s John Merchant, 1:04.29 to 1:04.32.
“I had confidence coming in after winning the regional,” Clark said. “Today was a good day.”
Marquette won the team championship with 57 points. Clarkston, the defending champion, was second with 74. Traverse City Central placed third with 95 and West fourth with 127.
Clark’s win gave the Titans a sweep in the slalom. Monica Hessler won it in the girls race.
Clark led Merchant after the first run, 31.44 to 31.65.
“It’s a tough spot to be in, because you know if you hold back too much you just gave away a championship and if you go too hard you might lose it,” West coach Ed Johnson said. “Finley handled it well.”
Clark didn’t seem too concerned about protecting his lead after the first run.
“It was enough (of a cushion),” he said. “I just go out there and ski, go to work. It didn’t change anything.”
Central was led by Kalvis Hornburg, who finished fourth in slalom. He was pleased with Central’s third-placing showing.
“We finally got 24 solid runs down,” he said. “Everybody finished (every run). That was a big step forward for us. It was a good consistent effort.”
Trojan coach Nick Stanek thought so, too.
“We didn’t make mistakes so there isn’t anything to look back on say, ‘well, if we didn’t do this maybe we could have won,’” he said. “I’m pretty happy with how we skied today.”
Marquette seized control in the morning, opening a 17-point lead on Clarkston in the giant slalom, 23-40. Central was 28 points back, West 42.
“We were in a good position after the GS,” Stanek said. “We were where we wanted to be, but we didn’t quite come on strong enough in slalom. Still, it was a good finish for us.