TRAVERSE CITY — It all comes down to this.
After a hard-fought, season-long battle that's gone back and forth, the Traverse City Central and Traverse City West girls ski teams have one last chance to determine which team has the upper hand for the 2014 season when they go into Monday's Division 1 state final at Schuss Mountain as two of the leading contenders to win the state championship.
Central and West represent the last two girls champions, with Central capturing last year's crown and West winning it over the Trojans in 2012. They are again poised to make a run at winning the state meet after standout years on the slopes, including a regional title for the Trojans and regional runner-up finish for the Titans less than two weeks ago as well as a Big North crown for West and runner-up league finish for Central.
"There's no doubt that we're close and have been close in the competitions," said West head coach Jerry Stanek. "The performance and what they do on race day is going to determine (who wins). I still think West has the best ski team, but that being said we're not going there for second place. We're going there to try and win it. I think our girls, they're going there with the thought that they're going to win. That's the mental state I want them to be in."
West head coach Ed Johnson likes the fact that the state finals figures to come down to a pair of teams from the same city that know each other well.
"It's a great thing for ski racing in Traverse City," he said. "It's a great thing to see both teams considered the top two girls teams in the state.