From staff reports
CADILLAC — Gini Gabrielli has been a welcome addition to the Traverse City West ski team.
The Italian exchange student placed third in the giant slalom (56.22) and sixth in the slalom (47.40) Tuesday to help the Titans capture a Big North Conference meet at Caberfae Peaks.
West finished with 43.5 points, Petoskey 67 and Traverse City Central 74.5 in the five-team race.
“The girls are really starting to ramp up and work well together,” West coach Ed Johnson said. “We knew we had some good individual talent, but now they’re coming together, working together as a team. As we move forward, and keep progressing, I think we can be a real strong contender (at the state level).”
Gabrielli would probably classify as the biggest surprise of the young season.
“We didn’t know she was a skier until we got started this season,” Johnson said. “The first time on snow we could tell, ‘This girl knows how to ski.’
“She had never skied slalom before in her life. She had no idea how to do it. She ended up sixth today. That was pretty impressive.”
The Titans placed four in the top eight in both disciplines. In the giant slalom, in addition to Gabrielli’s third-place finish, Morgan Culp came in fifth (56.84), Davan Gorton sixth (58.37) and Claire Podges eighth (58.49).
“Everybody was stacked in there pretty close,” Johnson said. “And that was in giant slalom, which typically is not our strongest event. Usually the slalom is what we count on.”
West was just as effective in the slalom, as Culp took third (44.92), Podges fourth (46.55), Gabrielli sixth and Kitt Hornbogen eighth (47.70).
Central’s Lili Lockwood captured the slalom in 42.51. Maggie Dutmers came in seventh (47.48), Devon Dotterrer 13th (48.17) and Katy Zimmerman 17th (50.00).
Lockwood was second in the giant slalom (55.49) to Petoskey’s Mia Ciccoretti (54.62). Dotterrer tied for sixth (58.37), Bailey Versluis finished 11th (59.00) and Dutmers 17th (1:01.18).