Luca DeAngelis grew up in a skiing family. He followed the tracks of sister, Hannah, and brother, Tyler, and spent big chunks of his childhood watching his father, Steve, who has coached Maranacook’s Nordic program for 31 years.

When DeAngelis was younger, he remembers not liking skiing all that much because of the cold and having to watch others ski. Once he had a chance to pull on a bib, however, his perspective changed.

“I definitely liked racing more,” he said.

A summer of hard work paid off this winter, as the Maranacook senior won every major high school Nordic race in Maine, including the Sassi Memorial classical and the Class B freestyle and classical state championships. He also was Maine’s top qualifier for the Eastern High School Championships, held last weekend in Ripton, Vermont.

He is our choice as Maine Sunday Telegram boys’ Skier of the Year.

“He’s worked at it a long time,” said Steve DeAngelis. “His freshman, sophomore and junior years, he was very good, but something always got in the way, whether it was injuries or sickness or being nervous.”

Not this year. DeAngelis built up his upper-body strength for better double poling and his lower-body strength for longer, more powerful gliding. He also learned to relax.

“If you can relax, it’s possible to ski much faster,” Steve said. “If you’re tense, you can’t balance, so you wear out faster. Of course, he’s a coach’s kid, so he’s heard all these things a million times, but he had to internalize it.”

DeAngelis won the Leavitt Hornet Classic 5K in early January over a field of 126 and, except for the Oxford Hills Sprints – a mad dash that’s over in less than four minutes – he kept on winning. His margin of victory in the Sassi Memorial was 22 seconds. It was 11 seconds in the KVAC freestyle, three seconds in the KVAC classical, 31 in Class B classical and 11 in Class B freestyle.

“It was the year everything came together for me in skiing,” he said. “It was a fun year for me, because I didn’t have as many injuries or illnesses. There’s always been something. This year, I worked around that and trained less during the season and avoided it.”

As valedictorian of his class, DeAngelis has several good options for college, including Bowdoin and Middlebury. He plans to continue skiing and study government and law, possibly political science.

“I know I want to go into public service or humanitarian law,” he said, “somewhere in that realm.”

TELEGRAM ALL-STATE TEAM

Tucker Barber, Mt. Blue junior: Class A classical champion who also placed second in freestyle to lead Mt. Blue to the Nordic state title. Runner-up in the Sassi Memorial classical race and an Eastern High School Championships competitor.

Maxx Bell, Edward Little sophomore: Won the Class A slalom by three seconds and placed eighth in giant slalom to lead EL to the Alpine state title. He was the top Maine qualifier for the Eastern championships.

Taylor Davis, Lake Region senior: The top Maine finisher in slalom at the Eastern High School Championships, and a two-time WMC slalom and giant slalom champion.

Luca DeAngelis, Maranacook senior: Swept the Class B Nordic freestyle and classical races by 11 and 31 seconds, respectively. He also won the Sassi Memorial classical race over a field of 162 and was the top Maine qualifier for the Eastern championships.

Joey Guimond, Fort Kent senior: Won slalom by three seconds and placed second in giant slalom to lead Fort Kent to the Alpine state title in the school’s first year competing in Class B.

John Lane, Yarmouth junior: Runner-up to Luca DeAngelis in the Class B freestyle and classical races. Placed fourth in the Sassi Memorial classical race, as well as second in WMC freestyle and third in classical.

Devon Lathrop, Cape Elizabeth freshman: Won giant slalom and placed fifth in slalom to help the Capers finish third in Class A Alpine. Was the second Maine skier in giant slalom at the Eastern championships.

Axel Lindsay, Greely junior: Runner-up in both slalom and giant slalom in Class A Alpine. The top Maine finisher in giant slalom at the Eastern championships, second in WMC slalom, and third in WMC giant slalom.

Ian McKendry, Forest Hills senior: Class B giant slalom champion who placed fourth in slalom (after tumbling on his back just before the finish line and crossing on one ski). Placed sixth in Class C giant slalom as a junior.

Willson Moore, Waynflete junior: Runner-up in Class C freestyle and classical races, and WMC classical champion by 12 seconds, as well as fifth in freestyle. Was the third Maine qualifier for the Eastern championships.

Tucker Pierce, Maine Coast Waldorf junior: Swept Class C freestyle and classical races (by 48 and 28 seconds) to lead MCW to a fourth straight Nordic state title. Also was the WMC freestyle champion and an Eastern championships competitor.

Brad Ravenelle, Portland senior: The Class A freestyle champion who also placed second in classical. He was third in the Sassi Memorial and an Eastern championships competitor. He plans a gap year at Maine Winter Sports Center before enrolling at Bates.

Coach of the Year

Joel Hinshaw, Freeport Nordic: In his 14th year at Freeport, Hinshaw guided the Falcons to the Class B Nordic title with a junior-dominated team that squeezed four classical skiers among the top 10 and four among the top eight in freestyle.