Shorthanded Norway co-op completes high school ski year

NORWAY — Injuries and illness weighed heavily on the Norway High School ski team late in the season.

The co-op with Iron Mountain and Kingsford fielded only four athletes for both the MHSAA regionals and UP Finals.

The Division 2 regional was held at Nub’s Nob in Harbor Springs, where the Knights finished ninth.

“We struggled with very difficult set courses,” said Coach Steve Sheski, noting 54 male racers at the meet. “The team focused on clean finishes, but couldn’t break the top 20.”

Freshman Jake Munn led Norway with a 22nd in slalom.

For Division 2, Houghton’s girls finished second overall.

The only UP boys to advance were Rico Braucher in giant slalom and Kyle McCullough in slalom, both from Ironwood.

In Monday’s state finals, Houghton’s girls won their second state title. Petoskey was the boys champion for the eighth straight winter.

In Division 1, Marquette swept both state titles. The Redettes captured a third straight crown and the Redmen won for the sixth consecutive year.

Norway put two giant slalom athletes on the podium for the UP Finals held at Mont Ripley in Hancock. David Loomis finished fourth; Nick Haferkorn, fifth; and Alex Heigl, 12th.

“As a senior, this was Nick’s last high school race and it was great to see him get to the podium,” Sheski said.

In slalom, Loomis finished fifth; Munn, sixth; and Heigl, 15th. “Alex slid out of his second run causing him to hike, but he’s a solid team player, always finishing the race,” Sheski said. “When things go bad, he turns and hikes without missing a beat. He has a great understanding of team points and is a valued member of the team.”

Allie Sheski was still sitting out after suffering a concussion four weeks into the season, but she finished the season with All-UP second-team honors. Erick Schultz was out due to illness.

The Ironwood boys team finished first and Norway second in the UP Finals.

“It was a beautiful day for racing and Houghton team put on a great race,” Sheski said.