Notre Dame Prep, Adams ski teams shine at state finals

By: Jacob Herbert | Rochester Post | Published March 4, 2020

 The Pontiac Notre Dame Prep girls ski team poses for a photo after winning a Division 2 state title Feb. 24 at Nub’s Nob. The Prep girls finished 58.5 points better than second-place finisher Harbor Springs High.

The Pontiac Notre Dame Prep girls ski team poses for a photo after winning a Division 2 state title Feb. 24 at Nub’s Nob. The Prep girls finished 58.5 points better than second-place finisher Harbor Springs High.

Photo by Amy McLeod

 The Rochester Adams ski team poses for a photo after winning a Division 1 regional race Feb. 12 at Pine Knob. The Highlanders boys team has finished in third place in the state finals for the last four years.

The Rochester Adams ski team poses for a photo after winning a Division 1 regional race Feb. 12 at Pine Knob. The Highlanders boys team has finished in third place in the state finals for the last four years.

Photo provided by Laura DeHart

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PONTIAC/ROCHESTER HILLS — When former coach John Deibel asked Craig McLeod to take over the Pontiac Notre Dame Prep ski team two seasons ago, McLeod asked what the secret was to leading the Fighting Irish to success. Prep had made appearances in several previous state finals and finished as runner-up in 2017 and 2018.

The message from Deibel was simple: “Love the kids.” That message has paid dividends, as the Prep girls ski team has now won back-to-back Division 2 state titles. The most recent win came Feb. 24 at Nub’s Nob, where the Fighting Irish scored nearly 60 points better than second-place finisher Harbor Springs High.

“I’m super proud of the girls. They worked super hard all year to do that,” McLeod said. “The coaches and I made a couple of adjustments that proved to be really good moves. The girls worked super hard and got along well as a team.”

The coach said the consistency of the girls team is what really stood out and impressed him. Prep had 23 clean runs out of 24 in both the giant slalom and slalom races.

Prep had two top 10 finishers in the giant slalom. Meghan Kozole took fourth with a time of 52.43 seconds, and Delaney Flavin finished ninth with a time of 55.23. Sydney Schulte and Keeley McLeod finished in 11th and 12th with respective times of 55.42 and 55.51.

Prep also had success in the slalom race.

Kozole took third with a time of 1:14.54; Schulte placed sixth with a time of 1:18.15; Flavin finished 16th (1:22.80); and Peyton Schindler placed 18th (1:24.07).

The team finished a perfect 13-0 on the year.

“Our girls just dominated all season long,” McLeod said.

Though the boys team finished in fourth, McLeod still walked away impressed with what they were able to accomplish.

Jack Lintol placed in the top 10 in both the giant slalom and slalom races. Chase Flavin also took home a top 20 finish in slalom and finished just outside the top 20 in giant slalom.

“The three teams that beat us, it’s their home hill. Harbor Springs, Petoskey and Great North Alpine all train at Nub’s (Nob),” McLeod said. “For our girls to crush them at their home hill and our boys to be competitive with the teams north of the 45th parallel is a feat in and of itself.”


Adams finishes as one of the best
Over in D-1 action, the Rochester Adams boys team capped off an impressive season with a third-place finish Feb. 24 at Boyne Highlands. The Highlanders were just 11 points back of state champion Marquette High.

“Normally, the up north teams are a little stronger in GS (giant slalom) than we are, but our kids had a tremendous effort in GS, and we had a kid take second and another take third,” Adams coach Jamie Jackson said. “We ended up in third place in states and had a good opportunity to win the whole thing.”

Those second- and third-place finishers in giant slalom were Colin DeHart and Zeke King, who finished with times of 59.99 and 60.13, respectively. The Adams boys also had three racers finish in the top 15 in slalom with King in seventh, Jacob Corsi in 10th and Jack Snook in 11th.

Kaylee Richardson was the name to remember for the Adams girls squad. She qualified for the finals as an individual along with Alyssa Fodale. Richardson finished tied for second in giant slalom and ninth in slalom. Fodale was 33rd in giant slalom and didn’t place in slalom.

“(Richardson) had an outstanding year. She was a leader on the team; she was able to take adversity well and still work hard,” Jackson said.

Jackson said his Highlanders were a fun group to be around.

“We were all a little disappointed that we didn’t do better at states, but when you look back and reflect, third at states is pretty darn good,” he said. “As soon as we were done, they were already talking about next year and what we need to do to improve.”

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