Three Onekama skiers qualify for state finals

Onekama’s Keagan Thomas (115) on his way to qualifying for the state finals in the slalom at the Division 2 regional meet at Caberfae Peaks on Monday. Thomas also qualified in the giant slalom at the meet. (Robert Myers/Pioneer Sports Network)

Onekama’s Keagan Thomas (115) on his way to qualifying for the state finals in the slalom at the Division 2 regional meet at Caberfae Peaks on Monday. Thomas also qualified in the giant slalom at the meet. (Robert Myers/Pioneer Sports Network)

CADILLAC — Onekama’s ski team extended their season with a strong showing in the postseason opener.

Joe Buswinka, Riley Drilling and Keagan Thomas all punched their tickets for the state finals at the Division 2 regional meet at Caberfae Peaks ski resort in Cadillac on Monday.

Buswinka and Thomas qualified in both events, the slalom and giant slalom, and Drilling will ski in the state finals in the slalom after missing out on qualifying in the GS by just one-tenth of a second.

Onekama head coach Curt Mathieu said that he was thrilled with his team’s performance, from top to bottom.

“I was very, very pleased with all the kids,” Mathieu said. “Keagan and Joe and Riley all made it to States last year, they’ve always been strong skiers. They all had the basics, but in the last two years, it’s been a good time. I can’t say enough.”

All three have just been really good role models, even off the course. They help the other kids, they help them understand what to do and how to do it and we have a great team. We have good kids.”

Thomas finished fourth in the regional slalom with a combined time in his two runs of 47.67, and sixth in the giant slalom in 56.29.

Buswinka placed fifth in the giant slalom in 56.26 and seventh in the slalom in 48.89.

Drilling qualified in the slalom with a combined time of 51.61 and placed 11th in the GS in 1:00.92

The top ten finishers in each event qualifies for the state finals.

Also skiing for the Portager boys was Colin Vanvoorst (58th in the slalom in 1:13.35, 59th in the GS in 1:13.33), Britten Vanvoorst (61st in the slalom in 1:18.40, 64th in the GS in 1:18.66).

Mathieu singled out team newcomers Sydney Williams and Taylor Williams for their rapid advancement, despite finishing in the bottom two places in both events.

“They just joined the team three weeks ago, and they have made so much progress,” Mathieu said. “It just blows me away. They’re seniors, unfortunately. I wish they had been around three years ago.”

Ali Stocki placed 60th in the slalom (1:20.61) and 58th in the GS (1:22.82). 

Onekama did not have enough veteran skiers to post a competitive team score, but Mathieu said that he hopes to remedy that going forward.

“We’re hoping to recruit this Spring, Summer and Fall,” Mathieu said. “We’re looking for kids to ski.”

The Portagers who qualified will ski in the Division 2 state finals at Schuss Mountain in Bellaire on Monday, Feb. 26.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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