HARBOR SPRINGS — Carlee McCardel is now a two-time state champion.
The St. Francis sophomore defended her Division 2 ski title in the giant slalom Monday at Nub’s Nob, finishing with a two-run combined time of 50.47.
McCardel, 16, led after the first run with a 26.22.
“I knew I had to have a clean (second) run,” McCardel said. “It was tight. We were all like a couple tenths off each other.”
Houghton’s Jenna Stein was second after the first run in 26.35, but she had a mishap in her second run. McCardel closed with the third fastest time in the second run in 24.25.
“Back-to-back state championships is a great accomplishment,” said Doug White, coach of the Elk Rapids-St. Francis team. “You win that, it doesn’t matter how the rest of the day went. It was a good day.
“Carlee put down two really good runs. She was smiling afterwards — and rightfully so.”
McCardel said last year’s title might have been more exciting because “I didn’t know I could do this.” This time, though, she had pressure as the defending champion.
“I talked to my coaches and they had me look at it as not defending a state title but pursuing another one,” McCardel said. “That really helped me relax.”
Mallory Eliopolous of Grand Rapids West Catholic finished a close second in 50.71. Manistee’s Alma Brinkman came in third (50.77) and Petoskey’s Mia Ciccoretti fourth (51.04). Also finishing in the top 10: Harbor Springs’ Tia Esposito, who was seventh (51.98), and Benzie’s Morgan Papineau, who placed ninth (52.13).
Ciccoretti captured the slalom in 1:10.92. Esposito placed ninth (1:14.78), Brinkman 13th (1:15.79) and McCardel 16th (1:16.72).
Bloomfield Hills Marian claimed the team title with 74 points. Houghton-Hancock was second (81). Harbor Springs finished third (121) and Petoskey fourth (125).
Petoskey easily captured the boys title with 41.5 points. Cadillac was second (103.5). The Vikings were followed by East Grand Rapids (135) and Elk Rapids-St. Francis (138).
“It was a tough day for the boys,” White said.
Not for Sean Wells, a senior at Elk Rapids. He was seventh in the slalom (47.58) and 12th in the giant slalom (1:08.92).
Cadillac’s Keenan Cooper swept the two disciplines, winning the giant slalom in 46.38 and the slalom in 1:04.23. Teammate Nate Houk was fifth in the giant slalom (46.97) and sixth in slalom (1:06.61).
Petoskey shined in slalom, putting four in the top nine. Gunnar Lundteigen came in third (1:04.99), Trevor Kingsbury fourth (1:06.33), Garret Lundteigen fifth (1:06.54) and Patrick Sheperd ninth (1:08.47). Gunnar Lundteigen added a fourth in giant slalom (46.73).
Bellaire’s Ben Hicks earned medals in both races. He was seventh in slalom (1:07.61) and eighth in giant slalom (47.59). Charlevoix’s Brad Klinger took ninth in giant slalom (47.84).
McCardel called conditions “great” although skiers had to deal with several elements.
“The weather was all over the place — sunny, snowy, windy,” she said. “It was a weird day. But the snow was great.”