February 08, 2012 - By Joe St. Henry
Believe it or not, there is real snow up north and Lake Orion's ski team took advantage of it during the last weekend in January.
The team split into two squads and competed in the Boyne City Invitational and the Lakeland Invitational in Harbor Springs.
Head Coach Derek Delzer said he divided the team to give the Dragons their best chance at doing well at both ski competitions.
"It gave us the opportunity to move up a few kids to compete with the "A" group to help the team," he said. "We got the chance to see how deep we are and how we stack up against the competition."
Competing in Boyne City, the Lake Orion boys' team finished third out of five teams and the girls came in fourth place.
Delzer noted the boys skied well at the six-team event, highlighted by the performances of juniors Justin Paviscak, Justin Klaus and Ricky Mackowski. Paviscak finished second on the team in the slalom and third in the giant slalom races.
"He stepped up and skied well for us," the coach said.
On the girls side, Delzer said freshman Katie Tyrrell performed well in both the slalom and giant slalom races, while junior Paige Sullins competed strong in the slalom event, too. Senior Julie Jacobs posted a "great second run time" according to her coach, and finished twelfth overall in the giant slalom event.
"There were some tough weather conditions at Boyne," Delzer said. "It was snowing to the point you couldn't see the next gate on Saturday evening."
At the Lakeland Invitational, meanwhile, the skies were clear and temperatures cold, making for ideal ski conditions, according to the coach.
The Dragon boys team finished in second place, while the girls finished in fifth at the Harbor Springs event.
Junior Dalton Stetsko finished third overall in the boy's giant slalom race, while his younger brother, sophomore Logan Stetsko, came in fifth. They were Lake Orion's two best giant slalom skiers at the event.
"Dalton has really skied great during the past couple of weeks - he's on fire," Delzer said. "Logan also turned in one of our top performances. He skied on a steeper hill than what you'd find down here and scored points for us. His technique showed."
Senior Marie Dohm continues to lead the girls' squad. She finished first overall in the giant slalom race at Boyne Highlands. In addition, despite a "hiccup" as the coach called it, Dohm finished sixth overall in the slalom event for the Lady Dragons.
The coach also noted the skiing of senior Laura O'Connor, who finished in the top 20 spots in the slalom race at Boyne Highlands. Skiing in the giant slalom, Alex Berquist finished in ninth place overall.
Back home, six ski teams competed in the inaugural Lake Orion Invitational at Mount Holly on Jan. 30. Both the boys' and girls' teams finished in fourth place.
Dalton Stetsko dominated the field and finished first overall in both the slalom and giant slalom events.
"He just continues to improve each week," Delzer said. "He is coachable, athletic and just loves skiing in general. Dalton always wants to get faster."
Klaus finished seventh overall in the giant slalom race but, unfortunately, he popped a binding at the start of his slalom run.
"Justin was skiing real well that day," said his coach. "It would've been interesting to see what happened if he didn't have that bad luck."
Dohm led the pack of the 30 girl skiers at the Lake Orion Invitation, claiming first in the giant slalom and second in the slalom races. Berquist was the next best Lady Dragon finishing 17th in the giant slalom and 13th in the slalom event.
"The six other girls on our team are really starting to close the gap and finishing closer to Marie," Delzer said. "That's a big help to the team."
On Feb. 8, the Lake Orion ski team will be competing at the Pine Knob Divisional races.