Combined ski team posts historic results in final season

By: Timothy Pontzer | Rochester Post | Published March 6, 2018

 Rochester Adams sophomore Kaylee Richardson competes in a race earlier this season. In the state finals Feb. 26 at Boyne Mountain, Richardson finished fourth overall in the grand slalom.

Rochester Adams sophomore Kaylee Richardson competes in a race earlier this season. In the state finals Feb. 26 at Boyne Mountain, Richardson finished fourth overall in the grand slalom.

Photo provided by Daniel Teetor Photography

ROCHESTER HILLS — Last year, the combined Rochester Adams and Rochester Hills Stoney Creek boys ski team enjoyed unprecedented success, finishing third in the Division 1 state finals.

This year, the boys repeated the same result while the girls also placed high in the finals. Together, the two sides earned regional crowns, setting a new standard for the joint effort.

“It’s been a really successful year,wwww to say the least,” coach Pete Driscoll said. “It was an amazing year for both the boys and girls. It’s definitely the best I’ve had in my 13 years here, and I’d bet one of the best they’ve ever had for the schools. I’m very proud of these kids, and they should be very proud of themselves.”

The boys finished the season at 8-1, with the girls tallying a 5-3 record. Despite graduating a dozen students combined, Driscoll said he came into the campaign with excitement and anticipation.

“On the guys side, I was looking for some good stuff because I knew we had a fair amount of returners and I knew what I had in the pipeline,” Driscoll explained. “I had a feeling we’d be pretty strong there, and I thought the same could be for the girls if a few stepped up. I knew I had two pretty strong girls coming back and if we could get some support elsewhere, we could do some great things. We definitely got it.”

In the regional finals Feb. 14 at Pine Knob, both sides took the top spot, a landmark achievement, according to Driscoll.

“I don’t think it’s ever happened,” Driscoll said. “It was just a really great day. For the guys it was the second year in a row, but to have the girls do it too was really special. For the girls it was the first time we’d been to states in over a decade.”

In the state finals Feb. 26 at Boyne Mountain, the program notched a third-place finish for the boys and a sixth-place spot for the girls. Driscoll called it a total team effort.

He cited senior Matthew Wells as a leader for the boys who served as team captain. Driscoll also pointed to sophomore William Blackmer, sophomore Colin Dehart and freshman Zeke King as key contributors.

A Stoney Creek student, Blackmer placed 10th in the slalom and 11th in the giant slalom. Both Highlanders, Dehart notched an 11th-place finish in the slalom and 14th in the GS, while King was 12th in both disciplines.

For the girls, Driscoll cited junior Olivia Guzzardo and sophomore Kaylee Richardson. A Highlander, Richardson took fourth in GS. Guzzardo, who attends Stoney Creek, placed 12th in GS.

The historic result did have a bittersweet tone, however, as the combined team will split next year. Usually racing under Adams colors, Stoney Creek will field its inaugural ski team next season.

“I know for some of them it was sad because it was the last time they’ll ski together, unfortunately,” said Driscoll, who will remain as the Adams coach. “But hopefully it can continue for both schools. I had 56 on the roster this year and 54 last year. That’s actually way too many, but we made it work. It’s a good thing and a bad thing, that double-edged sword scenario. I think Stoney will be just fine, especially with some of the kids they’ll start out with.”