— By

Staff Writer

RANGELEY — As the skiers ahead of him shoved through the shin-high starting gate every 15 seconds, Eric D’Agostino of Falmouth grew more and more concerned.

Snow flurries, chill winds and a peekaboo sun had played havoc with waxing decisions, so D’Agostino’s stress level already was in the red.

Now he was having trouble clearing his Nordic ski boots of snow. Finally as the starter was counting down ”5 4 3 ” a Falmouth mom knocked the snow from his boots.

”That was so stressful,” D’Agostino said. ”That was the closest call I’ve ever had in the start.”

The finish was similarly close, but it was D’Agostino and his Nordic teammates who did the knocking off.

On the final day of the four-event Class B state meet, Falmouth overcame an 11-point deficit Thursday to dethrone Yarmouth, 149-151.

Yarmouth had won the previous four state titles.

This marks only the sixth year of Falmouth’s revived skiing program, which claimed a Class D state title in 1976 but had been long dormant.

”It was great to finally be able to catch them at the end,” said D’Agostino, who placed seventh in the 5-kilometer classic race.

”That’s a tremendous feat, to go from a non-contender for years to winning the whole thing,” said Yarmouth Coach Bob Morse. ”Of course it’s tough to lose, but give all the credit to Falmouth. Our kids didn’t fall down. I’d say both teams skied to their potential.”

Yarmouth easily outdistanced Caribou to win its fourth straight Class B girls’ combined title, 138-228. Falmouth edged Mt. Abram for third, 277-283.

”It’s been a long season,” said Becca Bell of Yarmouth, the Class B skimeister who finished second in both Nordic races, sixth in giant slalom and 11th in slalom. ”We’ve had a lot of ups and downs with the snow, but it feels good.”

Emily Attwood of Cape Elizabeth won the classical title for the third straight year, and in a time of 18 minutes, 31.6 seconds that beat the field of 53 by more than a minute. She also has won three straight freestyle titles.

”This course is great for striding,” said Attwood. ”I’m not as strong a double-poler, so it’s the flats I have trouble with. This is a more rhythmic, classic course.”

Caribou’s girls, who trailed Yarmouth by a point in Tuesday’s skate race, placed three skiers in the top six and won the Nordic state title 60-70 over Yarmouth. The Clippers had won both Alpine races and put four in the top 15 classic skiers, but Caribou prevented a sweep.

Maranacook vaulted from third place after Tuesday’s skate race to win the Class B Nordic boys’ title 68-73 over Falmouth.

Justin Greeley of Maranacook, the freestyle champion, took the classic race in 15:55.2 to beat Bobby Yokabaskas of Cape Elizabeth by 17 seconds. Defending champion Cam Woodworth of Yarmouth was third.

Sean Daigle of Maranacook won skimeister with 60 points to Ben Weigel of Falmouth’s 93. Yarmouth freshman Drew Grout, in second place after three events, dropped out after injuring his knee.

Two weeks ago, Falmouth won the Western Maine Conference classic championship by nine points over Yarmouth (the overall WMC champion). On Thursday, the Yachtsmen needed to make up an 11-point deficit forged largely through a pair of Yarmouth Alpine victories.

”All the (Falmouth) girls were slipping like crazy,” said Tim Follo, who followed D’Agostino in eighth place. ”So wax was definitely important.”

”It was a matter of reacting to the changing conditions,” said Falmouth Nordic coach James Demer. ”The waxing changed a lot (from the girls’ race to the boys’). We finally found that a rub-on universal klister was the ticket.”

With Scott Talbot placing 10th and Jackson Bloch 13th, Falmouth compiled 38 points to 51 for Yarmouth.

Maranacook won the classic with 29 points and Caribou was third at 40.

Overall, Falmouth won none of the four skiing disciplines, but finishing second in each proved enough to unseat the four-time defending state champions.

”At the end of last year, I looked at Yarmouth’s program and said, ‘What can we do to be like them?’ ” Demer said. ”We wanted to emulate their program. So we put in a three-day Christmas camp at Bretton Woods. We really worked hard at getting our kids’ fitness level stronger and better.”

On Thursday, the final piece of the puzzle fell into place. The Class B hardware was headed back to coastal Maine, a few miles south of its accustomed residence.

”It’s going to be a fun bus ride home,” Demer said.

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

[email protected]