Chips sweep D2 regional

Manistee senior Nathalie Kenny clears a gate in giant slalom during Thursday's Division 2 regional meet at Caberfae Peaks. Kenny won a regional title in the event while the Chippewa girls and boys both won team titles. (Susan Futterer-Batdorff/Pioneer News Network)

Girls win fourth straight title as Kenny three-peats in GS; Boys claim fourth crown in last five years

SOUTH BRANCH TOWNSHIP — First came the medals and trophies and applause.

Those were followed by countless pictures, a little singing and even some dancing in front of the fireplace. This celebratory process is one the Manistee ski team is more than familiar with, as the Chippewas showed on Thursday at Caberfae Peaks.

“Spoiled by success,” Manistee senior Nathalie Kenny said with a smile amid the hoopla, “but we earned it with our hard work.”

The Chippewas, who co-op with Traverse City St. Francis and Manistee Catholic Central, had their commitment validated as both the boys and girls won Division 2 regional titles.

“We came in and accomplished our goal,” said Manistee senior Andrea Paine. “That’s all you can ask for today. I’m really happy with how we did.”

It’s the fourth straight regional title for the Manistee girls, who finished with 61 points, while Glen Lake was second (83) and Cadillac third (105) to round out the state finals qualifying teams in the 12-school meet.

“That’s excellent,” said Manistee coach Dick Totch, who thinks the four-peat is a school record. “I don’t know of too many other teams that have done that.”

Kenny kept another streak alive by winning her third consecutive regional title in the giant slalom.

“I was walking back and thought, ‘that’s my third one, wow, that’s really cool,’” said the defending GS state champion. “I just hope to make it two at state.”

Her coach isn’t surprised by the success.

“She just wants to win everything she gets into,” Totch said. “It doesn’t matter what it is. We could play Tiddlywinks and she’d want to win.”

Kenny also placed second in the slalom while Paine was third in both events to lead the Chippwa girls down the slopes in the middle of the Manistee National Forest. Manistee freshman Syriah Dobis turned in four solid runs and took 12th in the giant slalom and 13th in slalom.

“Everybody pulled together,” Kenny said. “I was a little nervous if everyone was going to be aggressive and attack today and we did. We were a team, we had fun and it was just awesome. It’s great to feel that again.”

The Chippewa boys prevailed in a slightly closer race as they finished with 36 points, Cadillac was second (52) and Glen Lake third (139.5).

“Every boy of our six gave it everything they had,” Totch said, “and it was by far the best runs I’ve seen from all of them.”

The Chippewas succeeded in somewhat difficult conditions that included a thick fog during the early afternoon that cleared up as the competition wound down to the boys claiming their fourth regional title in the last five years.

“We all skied well, especially in slalom,” said TCSF senior Stephen Siddall. “There were tough conditions but we hung in there and put some good runs together.”

Siddall, who won a regional title in the giant slalom last year, took first in the slalom on Thursday while teammate Cole McCardel prevailed in GS. Manistee’s Casey Kelley took 13th in giant slalom and 14th in slalom.

“My slalom skills have improved a lot this year,” Siddal said. “… There’s definitely a lot of confidence heading into the state finals.”

Siddall said he got a little bit of vertigo coming down the GS hill in the fog and the course wasn’t an advantage for Manistee, which hadn’t skied there in two years.

“Especially in GS, we don’t have a hill that compares to it,” Totch said. “You’ve got to be a real good glider to win this and they did a good job at it.

“These kids can adapt to anything you throw at them. They just want to do their best and today I saw their best runs.”

Manistee results

Girls slalom — 2, Kenny, 46.60; 3, Paine, 51.33; 11, Krissi Dressler, 53.98; 13, Dobis, 54.43; 45, Lauren Hansen, 1:26.80; 48, Annie DeVoe, 1:32.89.

Girls giant slalom — 1, Kenny, 56.87; 3, Paine, 59.92; 12, Dobis, 1:03.25; 16, Hansen, 1:03.52; 19, Dressler, 1:03.81; 30, Julia Scherlin, 1:06.90.

Boys slalom — 1, Siddall, 44.82; 2, McCardel, 44.84; 4, Tyler Hansen, 46.73; 10, Jeff Summers, 48.36; 14, Kelley, 49.59; 29, Chris Buswinka, 55.90.

Boys giant slalom — 1, McCardel, 54.60; T2, Siddall, 55.25; T2, Hansen, 55.25; 13, Kelley, 58.62; 16, Summers, 59.62; 29, Buswinka, 1:02.48.

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