Ski teams compete at State Finals in Harbor Springs

Maddie Melody, Assistant Editor


With the snow melting and winter coming to an end in, the Milford girls and boys ski teams traveled north to wrap up their seasons at the 2021 State Finals, which took place at Nub’s Nob in Harbor Springs, Michigan.

The race took place on the most challenging hills: Scarface, Chute, Valley and Smokey. The Mavericks were at a severe disadvantage regarding the steepness and length of the courses; nevertheless, they were able to persevere.

The girls team ended its season in top notch form. Up until the State Finals, the girls’ undefeated record remained spotless.

Five out of six girls finished the slalom race and all six racers finished the giant slalom, proving themselves as a competitor against the dominant teams of northern Michigan who have bigger hills and a longer ski season.

The Mavericks finished 5th in the state, which is impressive considering the team’s placement at the previous state finals of 8th place.

“[I am] quite happy with the fifth place finish for the girls,” said Coach Marty Neighbors, who just wrapped up his 34th season at Milford High School. “[I] would have liked to have finished above Clarkston; the only downside here is that they finished above us.”

Leading the way in the slalom for the girls were racers Junior Maddie Melody, Senior Riley Watts, Junior Makayla Woolhiser and Sophomore Rylee Lynch. Melody finished 8th place out of 72 racers, qualifying her for First- Team All-State. Not far behind her was Watts in 20th (Second-Team All State), Woolhiser in 36th, and Lynch in 51st.

“Everyone did exceptionally well considering the conditions and the steepness,” said Woolhiser. “I personally am happy with my runs and am glad I was able to help my team score.” This was Woolhiser’s second time attending an Alpine Skiing State Finals.

Heading into GS on the girls side, the team had secured a 5th place finish with a 42-point lead over Brighton, who was in 6th place. The scoring team consisted of Melody (15th, Second-Team All State), Watts (18.5, Second-Team All State), Freshman Ellie DeYoung (49th), and Woolhiser (53rd).

Finishing in 7th place finish for GS with a score of 101 points, the girls were in danger of falling behind. Luckily, their individual standings in slalom were enough to keep them ahead of four teams, giving them a final position of 5th place and a combined score of 182 points.

Just ahead of Milford was Forest Hills Northern/Eastern, with a score of 151; right below was Rochester Adams with a score of 208 points.

“I am really happy about where we finished as a team at the state finals. Looking back, it really makes all of our hard work at Alpine worth it,” said Melody.

Though not as expected, the boys’ still had an accomplishment for a downstate team.

In GS, the Mavericks took 8th place with 125 points. The scoring team included Freshman Peyton Chamberlain (27th), Junior Carson Chamberlain (29th), Junior Jack Hannert (32nd) and Junior Max Wilkerson (37th).

Other finishers included Sophomore Spencer Blaz and Senior Joe Antrim.

“On the boys side, given our talent pool, I expected a little bit more, but I am proud of how all skied,” said Neighbors.

There is no doubt that the boys were a successful crew and carried tons of talent. The team went undefeated during its regular season, won the LVC Championships, and took 2nd place at Regional Qualifiers back in February.

Admittedly, the boys are strongest in slalom, so it was no surprise that they made up points in this discipline.

The four scoring boys consisted of Peyton Chamberlain (16th), Carson Chamberlain (25th), Wilkerson (28th), and Hannert (32nd).

“I think we did well in slalom, but of course, there’s always room for improvement,” said Wilkerson.

All six boys who raced finished the slalom, including Freshman Ben Youngblood and  Antrim.

The Milford boys landed themselves in sixth place directly behind rival Brighton for slalom. Milford had a score of 101 points and Brighton had a score of 85 points.

After totaling up the points, the boys ended up with an 8th place finish and 226 points; close ahead of Forest Hills Northern/ Eastern with 215 points. Right behind the team was Birmingham with 292 points.

“The team performed very well, but if we have to compete, we all have to be 100% on our best game. I am very excited for what this team can do in the future,” said Peyton Chamberlain.

Both Milford ski teams made their marks at the 2021 State Finals. The teams had almost unblemished records and skied their absolute bests all winter long, and both teams have many top racers returning.

Looking forward to next season, the Mavericks will begin off season/dryland training as soon as possible. The racers are all planning to get on snow as soon as possible to start preparing to continue on their legacies held at Alpine Valley.

The Milford crew at Alpine Valley after a successful state championship (All photo courtesy of Resa Abbey)
Freshman MVP Peyton Chamberlain holding his own in the slalom course.
Freshman Ellie DeYoung racing down a GS course at the Regional qualifier.