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Norway skiers in state finals after girls’ 2nd-place UP finish

Three Norway girls ski team members were named to the All-U.P. ski team, as the selections were announced Thursday during U.P. Ski Finals at Pine Mountain Resort. From left, are Brooke Bittinger, first team; Gabby Carey, first team, and Megan Bittinger, honorable mention.

BREITUNG TOWNSHIP — The Norway High School girls ski team finished second in the U.P. skiing finals at Pine Mountain Resort, bowing to Marquette by just two points overall.

Norway and Marquette tied in Thursday’s giant slalom event at 21 points each. The slalom event is where the Redettes edged Norway by two points to take the overall U.P. championship.

Houghton finished third in both events and overall.

Norway was anchored by Gabby Carey and Brooke Bittinger. The pair of juniors finished first and second in the slalom, respectively, and second and third in the giant slalom.

Freshman Megan Bittinger finished the day with a sixth in the giant slalom and an 11th in the slalom. Sophomore Maria Fornetti turned in a ninth in the slalom and 12th in the giant slalom. Freshman Finnley Lutz finished with a 10th in the giant slalom.

Norway ski team member Jake Munn competes in U.P. Finals at Pine Mountain Resort on Thursday. Munn, a senior, was a second team All-U.P. selection this season.

“We really challenged Marquette today,” said Norway head coach John Bittinger. “They have won the Division 1 state championships the last five years and we were 12 hundredths of a second from gaining the two points we needed to tie in the overall. That is a close race.”

The Norway girls are headed to the Division 2 MHSAA state finals Monday at Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs.

“We cannot say enough about the performance Gabby and Brooke put on,” coach Bittinger said. “This is the third race this season where they finished 1-2. But this is a team event and you cannot do well without four solid finishers. Megan, Maria and Finnley did just that each earning critical points for the team. Peyton Johnson also had two solid runs in the slalom to finish 16th,” he added.

On the boys side, senior Jake Munn had a pair of 4th place results and Max Mayol finished with a pair of 17th place finishes. With only two boys on the roster, Norway didn’t receive a team score in any meet throughout the season.

“It was great to see Jake put down four solid runs in his last race of his high school career. He had a great four years including being an All-U.P. first team selection last season,” Bittinger said.

The three U.P. girls teams this season are loaded with talent, he noted.

“There were 12 different girls that finished at least once in the top five during the season, which shows how competitive it is. It would have been nice to beat Marquette, but looking back at how we skied we are very pleased overall.”

U.P. Girls team results:

Marquette – 21 (slalom), 21 (GS) – total 42 points

Norway – 23 (slalom), 21 (GS) – total 44 points

Houghton – 35 (slalom), 37 (GS) – total 72 points

Boys Team Results:

Marquette – 16 (slalom), 18 (GS) – total 34 points

Houghton – 39 (slalom), 30 (GS) – total 69 points

Ironwood – 44 (slalom), 43 (GS) – total 87 points

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