BOYNE FALLS — After two miscues on the first slalom run Monday morning, Division 1 state ski favorite Traverse City Central was in trouble.
“Big trouble,” coach Jerry Stanek said.
The Trojans needed their other four girls to ski clean, solid second runs to get them out of their predicament.
They did, sending Central on its way to its first state championship since 2005. The Trojans were runner-ups the last five years.
“We’ve been skiing so well,” senior Paige Pfannenstiel said. “We were determined that this would be our year, that we would finally take it all after a five-year streak of being the runner-up. Nobody on this team has ever won states before, so we’re pretty excited.”
Central finished with 81 points. Walled Lake Central took second with 92. Traverse City West, the defending state champion, placed fifth with 128.
The Trojans went into the finals last year as favorites, but lost to West.
“The girls were all disappointed last year,” Stanek said. “This time they realized, after finishing second five times, that they had to sacrifice individual achievement for the team. That’s what they did.”
That was especially true in the morning after Madison Ostergren and Cassidy Klein, two of the team’s best skiers, suffered mishaps on their first runs.
“It was almost a little discouraging, just because that’s what happened the last couple years — we’d lose two really good skiers the first couple runs,” Pfannenstiel said. “But we put it together. We have a deep team. It felt really good when we all (four skiers) got down and had good times. We were there for each other, covering any mistakes. That’s what a team should be.”
West actually led after the first run in slalom, putting three in the top seven.
“We didn’t ski out of our minds,” Titans coach Ed Johnson said. “We just skied solid. But everything fell apart in that second run.”