Petoskey Eyes 7th Straight State Title

PETOSKEY – Success has been a rite of passage for the Petoskey boys ski program.

Winners of six straight MHSAA Division 2 state championships, the Northmen have captured 17 total state titles since 1982 and secured another 10 runner-up finishes. Coupled with the success of Petoskey’s girls program, the two teams have combined to win 30 state championships and post 17 runner-up finishes.

"We’ve won six in a row, hope to go for seven state champs this year, and hopefully many more to come,” senior Kyle Festerling said.

The boys program is in rarefied air as one of only two schools to win six or more consecutive state ski titles, joining Traverse City, which won eight straight Open Class titles from 1988 to 1995.

"It’s a cool thing, and you know, a lot of us really don’t take it for granted,” senior Mitch Makela said.

A year ago, Makela led Petoskey to an undefeated Big North Conference season and claimed the giant slalom title and finished runner-up in the slalom at the Division 2 state finals. Makela is now looking to cap off his prep career by winning both events.

"Results are results,” he said. “You’ve just got to work on your own skiing, and results will come."

Petoskey’s success is continuing under coach Erik Lundteigen, who now in his fourth season with Northmen, credits a thriving youth program.

"I give a lot of credit to a lot of the younger coaches, the coaches through the middle school program,” Lundteigen said. “Petoskey has a pretty good feeder program. They get into these ski academy-type programs, and then they come to the middle school, and then they graduate to us. So there’s a nice history there."

With that history comes expectations.

"It’s a huge amount of weight on our shoulders, but it’s always exciting to see that accomplishment at the end of the day,” Festerling said.

"I really think we train the right way,” added Lundteigen. “We try to incorporate to be a complete skier, not just hitting gates every day.”

Petoskey will host a Division 2 regional at Nubs Nob on Monday, Feb. 13.

Categories: Skiing