GREENWOOD – Three years ago, Sara Paclat joined the Cape Elizabeth Alpine team as a freshman new to Maine.
“There were no girls,” she said. “I was literally the girls’ team.”
On Friday afternoon at Mt. Abram, Paclat skied through an icy giant slalom course well enough to finish ninth in Class B – with five Cape Elizabeth teammates in front of her.
“It kind of slowly evolved,” she said of the program. “And now we have this awesome team.”
Indeed, the Capers carved up their competition on a bitterly cold afternoon as sophomore Sophie Hewitt (third), junior Emma Landes (fourth), sophomore Emma Dvorozniak (fifth) and freshman Caroline Paclat (seventh) amassed 19 points to easily outdistance the 44 of second-place Yarmouth.
The Maranacook boys weren’t quite as dominant but still opened a 20-point lead on Freeport, 27-47.
Mt. Abram senior Elise Luce survived a late-run bobble to win her fourth straight giant slalom title, by nearly four seconds, and Freeport freshman Jay Pier surprised himself by winning for the first time this winter, when it counted most.
The overall picture also became clearer, after last week’s Nordic races in Rangeley and with only Saturday’s slalom remaining. Yarmouth’s girls have all but locked up an eighth straight state title. Nobody else is within shouting distance of their three-event total of 93. Freeport (213) and Maranacook (219) are battling for second, with Gray-New Gloucester (274) and Cape Elizabeth (277) in fourth and fifth.
Yarmouth’s boys, in their quest for a third straight state title, held a 29-point lead over Maranacook after Nordic. A difficult afternoon filled with spills and hikes sent the Clippers reeling to ninth of 10 teams in giant slalom, however, and Maranacook took control of the overall standings, 90-145. Freeport is third at 175, followed by Gray-New Gloucester (244), Mt. Abram (334) and Cape Elizabeth (371).
How chilly was it Friday? Yarmouth senior Chapin Dorsett found an unsuspecting gatekeeper in her path and, after navigating around him, could have skied off the course and been awarded a re-run because of the obvious time loss.
“It’s kind of cold and I really didn’t want to go back up to the top, so I just kept the run,” said Dorsett, who wound up second to Luce.
After giant slalom victories her first three years (and slalom the past two), Luce said she felt a bit queasy before starting her first run because of nerves.
“I just really didn’t want to fall,” she said.
Such a scenario almost played out on the final knoll, three gates from the finish, after she already had negotiated the tricky headwall.
“I was kind of late the whole pitch,” she said. “Then coming through there” – she pointed at the offending red gate – “I almost missed it.”
Cape Elizabeth’s team victory made up for a disappointing Western Maine Conference championship meet dominated by Greely, a Class A team. Landes, Sara Paclat and freshman Kinnon McGrath (eighth Friday) missed that meet in order to attend a Model United Nations conference in Baltimore.
“Well-rounded individuals, these girls,” said Cape Elizabeth Alpine Coach Jeff Davis. “We’re just glad everyone finished and skied well. This was the goal all year.”
Last year, the Capers required a ghost skier to achieve a team score because only three girls competed in the state meet.
“At the beginning of the season, I could tell we were all very good,” Paclat said, “but I couldn’t picture that we’d all be in the top nine. I’m really proud of everyone.”
In the boys’ race, Gray-New Gloucester senior Noah Lobozzo posted the fastest first run but skidded on the headwall in the second run and dropped to third, behind Pier and Maranacook senior Kelby Mace.
GNG junior Eric Wilcox’s seventh-place finish extended his lead in the skimeister competition to 70 points over Nicholas Bartlett of Presque Isle. Among girls’ skimeisters, GNG sophomore Keaton McEvoy placed 13th to pad her margin over Yarmouth’s Abby Condon to 26 points.
Waynflete senior Louis Frumer defended his slalom title and Fort Kent’s girls and boys wrapped up overall state titles at Sunday River.
Annalise Guerette of Winthrop won the girls’ slalom.
The Mountain Valley girls and Fort Kent boys won Alpine titles.
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: